Multiple sclerosis is a disease that unfortunately still has no cure. The remedies available only prevent the progress of the disease or alleviate the symptoms.
Among them is Gilenya, which brings more comfort and quality of life for patients diagnosed with this disease.
What is Gilenya?
Gilenya is a reference medicine presented in hard gelatine capsules and indicated to alleviate the symptoms resulting from multiple sclerosis. Its use can reduce the number of relapses by about 50%.
The maximum recommended dose is one capsule per day, which is equivalent to 0.50mg. It is worth remembering that the capsule must be taken whole, that is, it is not allowed to break, chew or break it.
Gilenya can be taken at any time and with or without food, according to medical advice.
After the first dose of the medicine, the doctor may request that an observation be made for at least 6 hours in the patient, in addition to requiring exams such as electrocardiogram .
This is done to monitor the heartbeat and check that the drug is being properly digested by the body.
If you forget to take a dose of Gilenya, take the capsule according to your normal schedule. Do not try to double the dose to make up for forgetting, as this can cause an overdose and trigger cardiac complications.
However, it is always necessary to inform the professional who accompanies the chart about any change, delay or forgetting the daily dose.
Another point worth mentioning is the elimination of the medication. In the first few weeks, about 81% of the medicine is eliminated in the urine. After the 34th day of treatment, the body already tends to eliminate approximately 89% of the medication.
Even with high elimination rates, this medication can remain in the body for up to 2 months after the last dose ingested.
What is Gilenya used for?
Gilenya is indicated to reduce the progress and symptoms caused by recurrent remitting multiple sclerosis, which affects the Central Nervous System.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects the melanin sheath, which protects neurons. Thus, the disease hinders the transmission of synapses and causes problems such as cognitive disorders, lack of balance and motor coordination.
When MS is recurrent, it is characterized by sudden attacks that last for a few days and then disappear.
Novartis fingolimode: how does it act?
Fingolimod Hydrochloride is the active ingredient in Gilenya. It helps to minimize and combat attacks on the immune system, as its action affects some white cells, preventing cells that cause inflammation from reaching the brain. As a result, there is a reduction in nerve damage caused by MS.
This substance can also act on neural cells that are involved in repairing the damage caused by the disease. This reduces new recurrences as well.
Side effects: what does the label say?
Like all medicines, the use of Gilenya can also cause side effects.
The main ones are mentioned in the package leaflet and divided according to frequency:
Very common side effects happen in more than 10% of cases and include:
- Elevation in liver enzymes;
- Back pain;
- Infection with the influenza virus .
When the adverse reaction is classified as common it means that 1 in every 100 people may have:
- Lack of air;
- Herpes zoster;
- Hair loss;
- Tingling or numbness of the limbs;
- Itching and redness of the skin;
- Increased blood pressure;
- Low heart rate;
- Basal cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer);
- Pain in the eyes;
- Blurred vision;
- Skin infection caused by fungi;
- Low levels of blood cells.
The unusual side effects can affect 1 person in every 100 who use the drug. Between them:
- Melanoma (a type of skin cancer);
- Swelling in the area of central vision of the posterior retina of the eye (macular edema);
- Crises convulsivas.
Gilenya has a rare reaction. Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome (PRES) can affect 1 in 1,000 patients.
The main symptoms of PRES include headaches, seizures , loss of vision and sensory changes.
Little is known about this condition yet, as it is a new entity with scarce studies.
The Kaposi’s sarcoma (tumor associated with infection with Human Herpes 8) is a side effect classified as very rare and can affect one patient per 10,000 who use Gilenya.
Adverse reactions with unknown frequency are those that cannot be estimated with the data provided by studies. In the case of using Gilenya are:
- Allergic reactions;
- Itching and sores on the skin;
- Swelling of the lips, tongue and face;
- Rare brain disease caused by an infection and called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy;
- Yeast infections (such as cryptococcal meningitis).
Fingolimod lose weight?
The package insert says that its use can cause weight loss, although this adverse reaction has an unknown frequency.
That is, only the intake of this medication does not tend to trigger extreme weight loss.
If when using Gilenya you notice a sudden reduction in the numbers on the scale, the ideal is to talk to the doctor who prescribed this medicine for you.
Gilenya should not be consumed by patients who are allergic to Fingolimod (active ingredient) or other substances present in the formula.
People who have had a heart attack, stroke or heart failure in the past 6 months are also contraindicated.
This medication should not be used by patients over 65 years of age or patients with diabetes mellitus , Gilenya should be prescribed with caution.
Other restrictions include people with liver problems and who are taking other medications that can change the rhythm of their heartbeats.
What is the price? Does SUS provide?
The box with 28 capsules of Gilenya 0.5mg is sold for prices ranging between R $ 7,223.80 and R $ 8,081.92 *.
These values may change according to the region of the country and even the chain of pharmacies that sells the drug. Therefore, the ideal is to research and make budgets in several drugstores.
This drug was approved by the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) in 2013, and has been provided by the Unified Health System (SUS) since 2014.
* Prices were researched on the website Consulta Remédios in January 2020.
How to budget Gilenya 0.5mg?
For patients who are going to legally request the medication, Consulta Remédios has developed an advisory support to obtain the necessary budget. Just enter your details and in a few hours our team will send you a personalized quote with at least 3 options for places to buy your medicine.
This budget can be used in legal proceedings, when the SUS or the health plan refuses to supply the medication.
Gilenya is a drug indicated to slow the progression of multiple sclerosis. With a price that is inaccessible to most Brazilians, the good news is that this medicine is provided by SUS.
In case of doubt, always talk to the medical professional who prescribed Gilenya as a form of treatment.
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