Two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine look at oral therapies for multiple sclerosis.
One study tested the drug, Fingolimod, on more than 1,000 patients for a year. Researchers found the relapse rate decreased, and the disease did not progress as much as it did in patients not taking the drug.
Another study looked at the drug Cladribine. Thirteen hundred MS patients were included in the study, and again the relapse rate was significantly lower in the treatment groups.
MRI scans showed the disease did not worsen as much as it did among placebo patients.
There were side effects, however, two patients in the Fingolimod group died. There were also more cases of shingles and low white blood cell counts among the treatment groups of both studies. Experts say more studies are needed to determine the long-term side effects.