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FDA approves MS drug from Novartis

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EAST HANOVER, N.J. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug for treating multiple sclerosis.

Novartis announced Monday the approval of Extavia (interferon beta-1b), the first of what the company calls a planned portfolio of MS drugs. Extavia is approved for treating relapsing forms of MS to reduce the frequency of clinical exacerbations of the disease.

“Interferon is a mainstay of treatment in MS,” Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center professor Doug Jeffery said in a statement. “With the approval of Extavia, patients have another option with a well-established safety and efficacy profile to help manage the disease.”

The drug is the same medicinal product as Bayer HealthCare’s Betaseron. Interferon beta-1b has been a standard-of-care for MS for 16 years, Novartis said.

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