Home - About Us -  Member Areas - Local Support Groups
     Support  | Services  |  library |  Products  |  Sponsors 
" With Friends with MS online you're never alone!"
All of our links
What is MS?
MS Symptoms

Pregnancy and MS

Pregnancy and MS


Pregnancy Hormone May Help Those With MS

Fri Sep 20,11:51 PM ET

FRIDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthScoutNews) -- A pregnancy hormone called estriol
appears to show promise as a treatment for early-stage multiple sclerosis

In a study done at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA),
researchers say a pill form of estriol decreased the size and number of
brain lesions and improved protective responses in people with relapsing
remitting MS.

Previous studies found similar results in pregnant women and animals with
early-stage MS. Estriol is a weak form of estrogen made by the fetal
placental unit. Only pregnant women have appreciable amounts of estriol.

Estriol is widely used in Europe and Asia to treat symptoms of menopause.
Because it doesn't prevent osteoporosis, estriol isn't approved in the
United States for hormone replacement therapy.

The UCLA Phase 1 clinical trial included six women with relapsing remitting
MS and six women with secondary progressive MS. All six with relapsing
remitting MS completed the trial, along with 4 women in the other group.

The researchers found a significant decrease in the number and size of
inflammatory brain lesions, an increase in protective immune response and
improvement in cognitive test scores after the women with relapsing
remitting MS were treated with estriol.

When the women were taken off estriol, their brain lesions increased to
pre-treatment levels. Those lesions declined when the women were put back on
estriol, according to the study, which is published in the October edition
of Annals of Neurology.

The women with secondary progressive MS showed no significant improvement
when taking estriol.

"Based on these results, a larger, placebo controlled trial of estriol is
warranted in women with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. If larger
studies confirm the benefits of estriol treatment, further studies for
longer periods of time will be needed to determine whether estriol can
decrease relapse rates and disabling symptoms," says principal investigator
Dr. Rhonda Voskuhl, associate professor of neurology at UCLA.

MS is a chronic, disabling disease that affects 1 in 10,000 people.
Symptoms, which range from numbness in the limbs to paralysis or blindness,
typically appear between ages 20 and 30.

More information

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has a complete
guide to MS.

Hormone pill aids MS patients
A tablet MS drug would be far easier for patients


Early-stage research suggests that a new tablet could reduce the damage caused by multiple sclerosis.

If the drug proves effective in future trials, it could be far easier for patients than current treatments involving painful injections.

MS is a disabling disease which happens when the body's own immune system attacks the sheath which protects brain cells called neurons.

The myelin sheath acts as insulation for the electrical signals carried within, and once it is stripped away, some of those impulses can be lost.

Attacks can lead to sudden muscle weakness or even paralysis, and a variety of other neurological problems involving sight and speech.

I am excited by the prospect of finding an easily administered treatment for MS based on a naturally occurring phenomenon in pregnancy

Dr Rhonda Voskuhl

The trial, at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles, involved 12 women with various forms of the disease.

They were given doses of a hormone called oestriol, made in the foetal placenta.

It is a weak form of the human sex hormone oestrogen, and is found normally only in pregnant women.

The idea for the drug comes from the fact that while pregnant, many MS patients often experience an easing of their condition, suffering fewer relapses or a halt in deterioration during the nine-month period.

The women were given oestriol pills over a six-month period, then the treatment was stopped for six months and restarted for another four months.

Lesions descrease

Doctors used a scanner to look at the brain for areas damaged by MS attacks.

Six of the patients had relapsing-remitting MS - a type of disease characterised by brain inflammation and attacks that come and go.

Among these patients, there was a significant decrease in the number and size of these brain "lesions", and an improvement in cognitive test scores.

When the oestriol treatment was stopped, the lesions came back, only to disappear again once the drug was restarted.

No change

There was no significant improvement among the rest of the patients, who had secondary progressive MS - a more advanced form of the disease in which the disability is more lasting following attacks.

Dr Rhonda Voskuhl, an associate professor of neurology, said: "I am excited by the prospect of finding an easily administered treatment for MS based on a naturally occurring phenomenon in pregnancy.

"Finding an easily-administered oral treatment is important, in part, because patients are less likely to delay treatment if it involves a pill rather than weekly or daily shots."

Following the study, published in the journal the Annals of Neurology, it is likely that further, larger scale trials will be needed to test whether the treatment really works.


Disclaimer  |   Contact  |   Search
Copyright 2010 Friends with MS - Serving the MS community since 1998