MRI scans show Prozac could slow relapsing MS

Prozac (fluoxetine) may help curb disease activity in MS, suggests preliminary research.

Thirty-eight patients with relapsing MS were randomly assigned to 20mg fluoxetine or placebo daily for 24 weeks.

Every four weeks MRI scans of the brain were taken. New areas of brain inflammation in the placebo group became obvious after just eight weeks.

Specifically, 25 per cent of scans in MS patients taking fluoxetine had new areas of inflammation. In contrast 41 per cent of MRI scans in controls showed inflammation.

Roughly two new lesions per person were noted in the fluoxetine group, compared with five in the control group.

In the last 16 weeks of the trial MRI scans showed 63 per cent of patients taking fluoxetine had no new areas of inflammation, compared with 26 per cent of those taking placebo.

Given the small study size, further research will be needed, admit the researchers. Still, they say fluoxetine may halt antigen suppression on glial cells, explaining its effect.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2008 Online

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