Anti-psychotic drugs good for MS patients: Kiwi study

Anti-psychotic drugs good for MS patients: Kiwi study

WELLINGTON, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand scientists say they have discovered new treatments for the degenerative disease multiple sclerosis (MS) using common anti-psychotic agents.

The study, led by Associate Professor Anne La Flamme of Victoria University, showed the potential of clozapine and risperidone to effectively treat MS, a neurological disease that affects one in every 1,400 New Zealanders.

The disease was caused by immune cells invading the brain and causing inflammation, leading to impaired vision and coordination and, eventually, paralysis, La Flamme said in a statement Friday.

"While disease-modifying drugs are currently available, they are often effective in only a subpopulation of MS patients and all of these treatments target the disease through traditional immune pathways," she said.

"What makes our findings so important is that clozapine and risperidone target a very different set of pathways from all other MS drugs, and thus have the potential to treat those MS populations for which no effective therapies currently exist."

The study showed that risperidone and clozapine could reduce MS significantly by reducing the inflammation in the brain that caused this disease.

Additionally, this research indicated that the way clozapine and risperidone improved disease outcomes in MS was different from how these agents work to treat mental health disorders.

"By utilizing existing therapies, this work may more quickly support improved outcomes for people with MS," said La Flamme.