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First Non-Refrigerated MS Medication Approved

Betaseron can be stored at room temperature

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- It may seem like a small medical advance, but a recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval could make life easier for those who have multiple sclerosis.

The announcement that the FDA has approved a room-temperature version of Betaseron, a form of interferon, may simplify the use and storage of the widely used medication. Betaseron has been around for quite a while, having been the first drug the FDA approved for treatment of what is known as relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

Here's what the National Multiple Sclerosis Society says about its effectiveness.

About 2.5 million people worldwide have multiple sclerosis, a disease that attacks the central nervous system. It's most prevalent in young adults between the ages of 20 and 40, and statistics show more women than men contract the crippling condition. Symptoms can include numbness in the legs and arms, blurred vision, weakness and fatigue. Its exact cause isn't known.

The room-temperature formula of Betaseron will allow for easier storage of the drug, both for pharmacies and patients. Additionally, a spokesperson for the drug's manufacturer, Berlex Laboratories, says not having to refrigerate Betaseron makes it much more portable for multiple sclerosis patients who travel.

Here is the announcement of the FDA approval as it appeared on the PR Newswire.

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