Although I long for the day when I can pop a pill to treat my so called MS, what is the real benefit? I hate injections, so yes, this is a benefit, no more injections, but here are some things to think about:
1. MRI enhancing lesion reduction -- This doesn't correspond to disease activity, why do they insist on using this as a valid metric of effectiveness???
2. "The annualized relapse rate was reduced by at least 70% during the six-month extension study", so what??!! Six months doesn't say a whole lot, and I saw nothing through out the whole write up of improvement in EDSS.
3. Another point to consider is that a lot more people are being diagnosed with MS now, than before. This doesn't necessarily mean that MS is spreading, it means that they are quicker to diagnose so YOU can start treatment (which is convenient for the drug companies), and they use criteria such as MRI lesions, and LP protein, which could be inconclusive and not definite MS, so my point is, there are a lot of people that may be enrolling in these clinical studies (for FTY720 and others) that really don't have MS, or have VERY mild cases of MS, and it would skew the numbers in favor of the drugs effectiveness. SINCE they don't know what MS is, how can they treat it? It’s a shot in the dark.
Sorry for the cynacism, but drug companies don't use root-cause analysis with MS, they want to treat, and I think taking this medication, at least for most, will be in vein (besides the very strong placebo effect). It doesn't FIX anything, and given the time frame, its really isn't proven. Lets face it, time is not on our side, but unfortunately that is what tells the truth, so most of these drugs will need to proven by effectiveness over time. The only other way to tell if a drug is effective is a drug that will give back EDSS points, if you start healing, and sustain improvements, then I'll be convinced (I know in some cases the damage is beyond repair, unfortunately).