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fingolimod (Gilenya): MS Drug Side Effects & Dosage

What is fingolimod? What is fingolimod used for?

Fingolimod is an oral medication used for treating multiple sclerosis (MS). Its mechanism of action is unknown, although it may work by reducing the number of circulating lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell), leading to reduced migration of white blood cells into the central nervous system. White blood cells cause inflammation and destruction of nerves in patients with MS. Fingolimod does not cure MS. It decreases the number of MS flares and slows down the development of physical disability caused by MS. The FDA approved fingolimod in September 2010.

What brand names are available for fingolimod?


Is fingolimod available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for fingolimod?


What are the side effects of fingolimod?

The most common side effects are:

Fingolimod may decrease heart rate,
especially after the first dose. Patients should be observed for signs and
symptoms of low heart rate for 6 hours after the first dose. Fingolimod may
increase the risk of infections. Signs and symptoms of infection should be
monitored during treatment and for two months after discontinuation of
treatment. Fingolimod should not be administered to patients who have an
infection. Fingolimod may cause inflammation of the eye (uveitis) and other eye
problems. Therefore, visual acuity should be checked prior to starting therapy,
3 to 4 months after initiation of therapy, and during routine patient evaluation. Fingolimod has also been associated with difficulty breathing. Fingolimod
reduces the white blood cell count, and this effect may last for 2 months after
treatment is discontinued.

What is the dosage for fingolimod?

The recommended dose is 0.5 mg orally once daily, with or without
food. Doses higher than 0.5 mg cause more adverse reactions without providing additional benefit.


What kind of disease is multiple sclerosis?
See Answer

Which drugs or supplements interact with fingolimod?

The blood levels of fingolimod are increased when combined
with ketoconazole (Nizoral, Extina, Xolegel, Kuric). This may increase the incidence of side effects.

Vaccines may be less effective during and up to 2 months after
discontinuation of fingolimod treatment. Live attenuated vaccines should not be
administered during and for 2 months after fingolimod treatment because of the
risk of infection.

When combined with drugs that decrease heart rate (for example, atenolol
there is an additional 15% reduction of heart rate.

Is fingolimod safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Fingolimod has not been adequately studied in
pregnant women.

It is not known whether fingolimod is secreted in

What else should I know about fingolimod?

What preparations of fingolimod are available?

Capsules: 0.5 mg.

How should I keep fingolimod stored?

Fingolimod should be stored at room temperature, 15 C – 30 C (59 F – 86 F).


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