Photo: Stethoscope

Daclizumab

Daclizumab (its brand name is Zinbryta) was withdrawn from the market on Friday 2 March 2018 after safety concerns. Anyone taking daclizumab should talk to their neurologist about treatment options.

How does daclizumab work?

Your immune system makes cells, called T-cells, that kill viruses and bacteria. But in MS these cells are believed to attack the myelin coating around nerves in your brain and spinal cord.

Daclizumab stops T-cells getting into your brain and spinal cord and causing damage to the nerves there. This protects the nerves from inflammation. The drug also rebalances your immune system.

You inject daclizumab under your skin once every four weeks.

How effective is daclizumab?

MS drugs can be put into three groups based on how well they control it. The effectiveness of daclizumab is classed as 'good'. This puts it between the DMTs classed as 'high' effectiveness and those classed as 'moderate'.

This is based on how much it reduces relapses and slows down how fast people's disability gets worse.

Relapses dropped by: 45% compared to a beta interferon

This means that in a trial, on average, people saw a 45% drop in the number of relapses they had. This was compared to people taking a beta interferon, a standard treatment for MS.

Disability getting worse was slowed by: 27% compared to a beta interferon

This means that in a trial, on average, people saw a 27% drop in the risk of their disability getting worse. This was compared to people who took a beta interferon.

What are the side effects of daclizumab?

The main problem with daclizumab is that it can cause serious, possibly fatal liver damage in some people. About one in 50 people who take the drug suffer serious, maybe life-threatening damage to their liver. You're at risk of this while you take the drug and for up to six months after you stop taking it. For this reason you'll have regular blood tests while you take it and, if you come off it, for six months afterwards. Other side effects include skin rashes. Four in 10 people got these in one trial. More than one in 10 got headaches, cold and flu-like symptoms, fever, infections of the throat and urinary tract or liver problems.

Other side effects could include swollen glands and depression.