Shorter travelling to hospital for some, says health authority

MULTIPLE sclerosis (MS) patients in Highland are the first in Scotland to be offered a new treatment which can be used to help with highly active relapsing remitting MS.
The drug, Fingolimod, is the first oral treatment for highly active MS and it was approved for use in September.
Itis only suitable for a percentage of people with MS however it will mean less time spent travelling to hospital for treatment for those who are on it. The first patient in Highland began this treatment in November.
Anne Stewart, NHS Highland MS Specialist Nurse, explained that the first dose is given under supervision in hospital and thereafter the patient takes their tablet at home daily.
She said: “At Raigmore Hospital we are committed to providing the best possible service to our MS patients and are proud to be the first MS service in Scotland to offer Fingolimod, the first oral treatment for highly active MS.
This is an important advance for us and our patients as Fingolimod is the first oral treatment (instead of pill) for people with active relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) who are not responding to their current interferon injections and who fit the criteria.
“Fingolimod is more effective than a commonly used first-line treatment and will give people with RRMS more treatment options.
“What’s more, given the geography of the Highlands , where it can be difficult for patients to attend regular appointments, this provides a great solution.”
Louise Smith, 47, from Thurso, was diagnosed with MS over fours years ago. She is the first Highland patient to have started using Fingolimod.
She said: “To date I have been treated with drug infusions as well as having to self inject to prevent relapses.
“MS can take over so much of your life but I have set up my own business which means I can work flexibly. I do try and lead as normal a life as possible and this will definitely help.
“Now I’m on the tablet I don’t have to carry needles, I don’t have to worry about where my medication can be stored and I don’t have to think about going into hospital.
“It’s only been a few weeks but so far so good.”
Notes to editors:
Raigmore hospital has a committed MS team, which is made up of two MS specialist nurses, one full time neurologist and a part time neurologist as well as an MS Physiotherapist.
The two MS specialist nurses visit patients all across the Highlands, covering an area the same size as Belgium
In Highland approximately 600-700 patients have the condition
Scotland has the highest incidence of MS in the world with more than 10,000 people being affected
Raigmore hospital is the first hospital in Scotland , outside of the trial setting, to offer fingolimod as part of its MS service and has initiated the first fingolimod patient in Scotland.