Lemtrada is a once a year infusion that may slow or possibly stop the progression of multiple sclerosis. It is a once a year infusion, but the first year you receive infusions for five days in a row. Subsequent infusions are once a year but occur for three days in a row.
Insurance companies paint it as being for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, MS, after two ms drugs have failed. That is because there is some risk to the infusions.
It reminds me of the procedure used that stopped my MS in its tracks in the early 2000s. I was given big bags of steroids for three days in a row, which dampens the immune system, while also physically making your body stronger. On the third day the infusion included Cytoxan which modifies your immune system.
Because your body is revved on steroids, the immune system modification occurs quickly. This was done every three to six months, depending upon how I was reacting. It worked. My MS symptoms remitted, and have continued to improve until the present.
It is my guess that the Lemtrada may be working similarly. There was a lot of risk with the procedure I went through, and there is risk with Lemtrada. I believe it may be risky because both procedures basically turn your immune system off temporarily, followed by the immune system being less hyperactive about attacking your nervous system.
Both procedures use steroids heavily, which dampens the immune system. I had a severe infection after one set of infusions that landed me in the hospital for a week which I recovered from.
I continued to improve using once a week Tysabri self-injections, which I did for almost ten years; however, there is a danger to using Tysabri. The danger is that you may activate a latent JV virus which then causes multiple myelomas in your brain. They have a test that indicated I was getting close to JV virus activation, so I fortunately was able to switch to the new 800 pound gorilla in the fight against multiple sclerosis, Ocrevus.
The first time you take Ocrevus, it is infusions given two days in a row. The infusions last for six months. Subsequent infusions occur every six months and are for one day, with the infusion taking three or four hours.
My health has steadily improved since my late fifties. At 66, I am in better health than I was in my thirties. I developed MS in 1991 right before the first effective medications for multiple sclerosis were developed. Ocrevus is the best one by far. Tysabri helped a lot, but I noticed that I was more likely to get a cold or the flu on Tysabri. That has not been the case with Ocrevus. Ocrevus is for both primary progressive multiple sclerosis and relapsing remitting MS.