A local pharmacist hopes a new study will help people with multiple sclerosis. The study was released last month in The Multiple Sclerosis Journal. It looks at a promising topical drug called Prokarin. It hasn't been approved yet by the F-D-A, but is available with a doctor's prescription, through compounding pharmacist's like Burt Patterson in Ocean Springs.
Burt Patterson runs a regular pharmacy business in Ocean Springs called Patterson's Pharmacy...but his passion is his compounding work. Compounding is the practice of custom preparing medications to meet a patient's specific needs.
He says one of the most exciting drugs he works with is called Prokarin, a treatment for people suffering with Multiple Sclerosis.
"I've had three patients who have had rather miraculous results, one whose been in a wheelchair for over five years, now she's with rehabilitation taking her first steps. "
Results like this have been reported around the country. Patterson mixes the ingredients of Prokarin in a carefully controlled environment.... turning it into an ointment that is applied to a patch worn on the skin. He says "the patch is something you have to use everyday, two patches every day, wear sixteen hours a day."
Patterson hopes a new study in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal will encourage more doctor's to prescribe Prokarin. He says "The study that just came out in the January 30th issue of the magazine should do a lot to alleviate the fears of physicians."
The small double blind study conducted in Seattle showed 91% of patients taking Prokarin reported significant improvement. It helped patients fight fatigue, one of the most common symptoms of M-S. But it also showed improvement in walking, coordination, and cognitive skills. MRI imaging found an actual change in brain chemistry in patients on Prokarin.
Patterson says "most M-S patients are willing to try something new, they're looking for hope and Prokarin gives them that hope."
The drug has a short shelf life, and is extremely light and temperature sensitive, making it difficult to produce in mass quantities. Patterson believes that's one reason drug companies aren't pushing more for F-D-A approval. But he wants to get the word out that it's available to help people with M-S improve their quality of life.
Patterson says the cost of Prokarin is about 250.00 a month..........and because it isn't F-D-A approved yet, insurance coverage is limited. The only reported side effects for some patients have been drowsiness, and skin rash at the site of the patch.