What is Tysabri and how does it work?
Tysabri® (natalizumab) is a new MS medication that has recently become available in Canada. It is a disease-modifying medication, which means that it works to slow down the progression of the disease.
In people with MS, the body's immune system attacks the fatty myelin sheaths that protect nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Myelin helps the nerve cells conduct electricity, which carries messages between nerve cells. When myelin is damaged, the nerve cells cannot send messages properly, leading to problems with walking, coordination, bowel and bladder function, thinking, and vision. It can also cause fatigue, pain, and muscle spasticity.
Tysabri is a man-made protein that works by helping to prevent the body's immune system from attacking the myelin sheath. This can help slow down the progression of MS.
How is Tysabri given?
Tysabri is given as an intravenous infusion, which means that it is given slowly into a vein (over a period of approximately one hour).
The infusion is given once every 4 weeks by a healthcare professional such as a doctor or nurse. It is usually given in a special MS or infusion clinic.
People taking Tysabri will be carefully monitored during the infusion, and for an hour after the infusion is finished to watch for signs of an allergic reaction, so that this may be treated before they leave the clinic. For more information on the safety of Tysabri, see "Tysabri safety information."
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