Monday, February 12, 2007

Health Scan: Chronotherapy: Time is of the essence for MS treatment


Taking drugs in accordance with one's biological clock can make a difference in their efficacy, according to Technion researchers who studied the benefits of multiple sclerosis treatments taken at night compared to those taken during the day.

Prof. Ariel Miller, head of the MS center at Carmel Medical Center and the Technion's Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, says their new study proves victims of the neurological disease recover faster from acute attacks when they inject medication according to the principles of "chronotherapy." The study has been published in the Journal of Neurology, Surgery and Psychiatry.

"It is known that the immune system functions according to body rhythms. For example, the amount of cortisone in the body is higher in the morning and lower at night. There is significance to the biological clock in autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatic disorders and MS.

The Technion team injected MS patients suffering from an acute neurological attack with steroids. Some received injections between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., while another group had theirs between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Those who received night-time injections recovered faster than those who had the day-time treatment. Side effects were also reduced in the night-time group.

Patients have been taking MS medications depending on when they eat, as drug absorption can be disrupted by digestion. Until now, neurologists have not advised patients to get injections at specific times, but now they will advise injecting steroids late at night.