New MS drug kicks off in WNY

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Ocrevus was approved by the FDA in march. It’s the only FDA approved drug to treat both Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis and Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis .

It’s first New York patient is Margaret Browne.

The Clarence mother of two was diagnosed with the the disease back in 2004. She’s been in a wheelchair for about three years.

For Browne, Ocrevus offered the chance to avoid weekly or monthly injections.

With Ocrevus, she gets infusions every six months.

The drug isn’t a miracle worker; Browne will likely remain wheelchair bound, but if Ocrevus continues to work the way it has been on her symptoms, she could maintain function in her arms, which would do a lot for her future mobility.

Browne’s PA at the Dent Neurologic Institute, and also the person who suggested she give the drug a try, is Katelyn McCormack.

“I think it got approved on a Friday and Monday I did all the blood-work and MRIs and stuff, and here I am.,” Browne told us Thursday, during her second round of infusions.

McCormack told News 4 a sense of hope for MS patients when it comes to a drug, is empowering. The drug currently has no cure.

“It’s very frustrating. When I’m sitting in the room with my patients, I’ll tell them often ‘I don’t know.’ They’ll ask me questions, what’s going to happen in five years, what’s going to happen in ten years. I honestly don’t know and it’s really frustrating,” she said.

“She’s doing great,” she said of Browne.

“For the first time the other day she felt a cold sensation in her feet, which she hasn’t felt for a while.”

Most insurance companies, McCormack said, have been working to cover this drug.

She’s hopeful it could lead to a major breakthrough in stopping or slowing the progression of MS, which plagues many in western New York.

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