Eleven multiple sclerosis patients are reported to have died after taking the multiple sclerosis (MS) drug Gilenya. A relative newcomer to the market, Gilenya is the first oral drug that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reduce relapses and delay disability in patients who have relapsing forms of MS. However, serious side effects have already been associated with it.
Dr. Joseph Mercola warns: “When you take drugs for multiple sclerosis (MS), you may very well be trading MS for another set of health problems, including paying the ultimate price: death.”
The FDA, the European Medicines Agency, and other health agencies from multiple countries are currently investigating the Gilenya-related deaths.
Gilenya Actually Causes Heart Rate Problems
When an MS patient takes Gilenya, he is monitored for six hours after the first dosage because Gilenya has been known to cause heart rate problems. The FDA, despite being aware of this severe side effect, still approved the MS drug.
Novartis, the drug company that produces Gilenya, informed CNN that they are aware of the reported deaths associated with the drug and said that these were caused by sudden death, heart attack, or disruption of heart rhythm. But what’s confusing is that they also said the cause of the deaths remains “unknown.”
Other Gilenya side effects noted in Novartis’ website include:
- Higher risk of serious infection
- Macular edema, a vision problem
- Liver problems
- Breathing problems and increase in blood pressure
- Harm to a woman’s unborn baby (Gilenya is contraindicated during pregnancy or breastfeeding)
Here’s Another MS Drug You Should Avoid
In November 2004, the MS drug Tysabri hit the market because it is believed to have “extraordinary benefits.” Results from the first year of the Tysabri clinical trial revealed that MS patients who took the drug had a 66 percent reduction in relapses compared to those who were given a placebo.
However, three months after Tysabri was released, it was pulled out because one in 1,000 people who took it developed a rare brain infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), which causes death or severe disablement.
Tysabri is actually a monoclonal antibody, meaning it is acquired from a mouse antibody that is genetically engineered to mirror a human antibody. It is infused directly into a vein, allowing the antibodies to bind to immune system cells, inhibiting them from crossing over from the bloodstream to the brain.
“Tysabri blocks this movement by attaching to alpha 4-integrin, a protein on the surface of immune T cells that normally enables them to pass through the blood-brain barrier. However, if destructive immune system cells break free of the bloodstream, they can reach your brain, gastrointestinal tract, and joints, and cause severe damage,” Dr. Mercola explains.
However, the FDA voted for Tysabri to be put back on the market in June 2006. In 2010, a new label was added to warn health care professionals and patients that PML risks increase as more infusions are received. Other potential health risks associated with this MS drug include liver damage, joint pain, allergic reactions, depression, and an increased risk of serious or unusual infection.
“Side effects are more the rule than the exception when it comes to MS drugs, but unfortunately they continue to be offered as a first-line treatment for those with MS, even though dietary strategies can be extremely effective,” says Dr. Mercola.
You Can Reverse MS with Raw Food and a Healthy Lifestyle
There are people who have successfully reversed MS by simply modifying their diet. Dr. Terry Wahls is one inspiring example. After seven years of deterioration, she successfully reversed MS just by changing her diet.
Dr. Wahls found out that the common denominator of diseases that cause brain shrinkage is poor-functioning mitochondria. She then ingested nutrients that are essential for proper mitochondrial function, namely animal-based omega-3 fats (like krill oil), creatine, and CoQ10 (or ubiquinol, its reduced form). When she adjusted her diet for optimal mitochondrial, myelin, and neurotransmitter function, she saw significant improvements. She also eliminated processed foods, grains, and starches from her diet. Learn more about Dr. Wahls’s story.
Dr. Joe Mercola says that simple lifestyle changes can also help reverse MS:
- Optimize your vitamin D levels. You can maintain healthy vitamin D levels through regular sun exposure. But if this is not possible, use a safe tanning bed or take an oral vitamin D3 supplement.
- Avoid pasteurized milk and dairy. Studies show that cow’s milk consumption is correlated with MS prevalence.
- Avoid aspartame, commercial fruit juices, and soda. Aspartame metabolizes into a potent neurotoxin called methanol.
- Eat plenty of raw food and fermented vegetables. Optimizing your gut bacteria may greatly improve your health.
- Check your iron levels. Excess iron in your body may damage the inner lining of your blood vessels (endothelium), create massive amounts of free radicals, and damage your DNA. If you have MS, you must check your blood for iron overload through the serum ferritin test. If your iron levels are high, simply donate your blood.
- Try low-dose Naltrexone and alpha lipoic acid. Naltrexone is a pharmacologically active opioid antagonist. It is conventionally used to treat drug and alcohol addiction with doses of 50 to 300 milligrams. However, low doses have immunomodulating properties that may successfully treat cancer malignancies and other autoimmune diseases.
- Mercury detox. Avoid dental amalgams as well as fish and seafood consumption, unless they are verified for purity. Using supplements like chlorella can also help eliminate mercury from your system.
- Address early childhood emotional traumas. A precipitating traumatic emotional event may cause your immune system to crash. Use an effective energy psychology tool like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to banish the trauma.
“I do encourage you to share this information with anyone you know struggling with MS, as it is could easily change their life. Risking your life with conventional MS drugs is NOT the only option, but most people are not aware of that,” says Dr. Mercola.