Novantrone is typically prescribed as chemotherapy for treating cancer. However its use in treating secondary- progressive, progressive- relapsing, and significantly worsening relapsing- remitting multiple sclerosis has been proven.
The Interferon Beta medications work by altering the immune system to slow down progression of the disease, and stave off disability. Novantrone works differently. It suppresses the immune system by killing off potentially abnormal T cells, be cells, and macrophages. It is thought that these cells contribute to the body's attack against the myelin sheath.
For MS patients, Novantrone is prescribed in amounts far less than those used to treat cancer. Treatments are shorter, spaced farther apart, and have fewer side effects. Since there is a limit of how much of this medication you can be given during your lifetime, be sure to tell your doctor if you have ever been treated with chemotherapy for cancer.
Typically, MS patients receive eight to 10 doses of Novantrone through an IV over two to three years
However, before starting treatment with Novantrone it is important talk to your doctor. Tell your doctor if you have ever been diagnosed with heart disease, blood clotting problems, anemia, or liver disease. If you have ever been treated with any cancer chemotherapy, or radiation therapy is very important that you notify your doctor. In addition, tell your doctor if you have a low white blood cell count, unusual bleeding, or any known allergies. These conditions could affect your treatment with this medication.
All medications have side effects. Known serious side effects associated with Novantrone include congestive heart failure, leukemia, and some in problems.
Other side effects are the whites of the eyes turning blue, hair loss, an increased risk of infection due to a decrease in white blood cell count. In women Novantrone can cause monthly cycles stop while on the medication. In some women in this effect is permanent.