Gilenya (fingolimod) pronounced as “Jil-EN-ee-ah”. Gilenya is the first oral disease-modifying therapy available for the long-term treatment of MS. Gilenya is the first in a new class of immunomodulatory drugs called S1P-receptor modulators. It is similar in structure to a naturally occurring component of cell surface receptors on white blood cells.
Gilenya blocks potentially damaging T-cells from leaving lymph nodes, lowering their number in the blood and tissues. It may also reduce damage to the CNS and enhance the repair of damaged neurons.
Your doctor will probably order some tests before you start Gilenya:
A new or recent blood test to establish lymphocyte (immune cell) count;
An eye (ophthalmologic) evaluation;
A new or recent blood test to evaluate liver enzyme levels;
FA new or recent electrocardiogram in those using heart medications, those who have cardiac risk factors, or those who on examination have slow or irregular heart beat prior to starting Gilenya.
As with all drugs, Gilenya comes with side effects.
Gilenya has an awesome website that discusses the side effects in detail. You can find it here: Gilenya First Dose
Briefly, side effects with Gilenya include:
A reduction in heart rate (dose-related and transient).
Macular edema (a condition that can affect vision, caused by swelling behind the eye); Macular edema can cause some of the same vision symptoms as an MS attack (optic neuritis). You may not notice any symptoms with macular edema. Macular edema usually starts in the first 3 to 4 months after you start taking GILENYA.
Liver problems, reversible elevation of liver enzymes.
Slight increase in lung infections (primarily bronchitis). Infections, including herpes infection, are also of concern.
After completing all the tests and being found a good candidate, I received a call from Gilenya.
After my insurance was approved, I made an appointment for my first dose. April Cunningham at the Gilenya support program talked to me about people without insurance, and the help they may be able to provide.
The first dose will have to be taken at the doctor’s office, it is necessary to stay there for 6 hours to be monitored.
I started taking Gilenya February 16, 2011. I packed a lunch and my laptop and headed off to Dr. Sponsler’s office. He set up a room for me to hang out in for 6 hours.
I didn’t have any negative reactions, so after 6 hours I was good to go. As I left, they set up a follow-up appointment for me to check back.