The research results
So, what happened with the research that was funded by the donation? They found out that the anti-acne medication slowed down the rate of progression into advanced multiple sclerosis—by half!
There were 142 participants in the study, ranging from ages 18 to 60. All of them showed early signs of multiple sclerosis, and others had been excluded if another disease was the probable cause of the symptoms. The study took place over six years, with the participants consuming either the medication or placebo twice a day.
One third of the participants on the medication went on to develop full multiple sclerosis, as opposed to two thirds of the participants who were instead given the placebo.
In at least one case, the symptoms disappeared. That particular young lady has even decided to cease taking minocycline, though she is still in communication with her doctor in case the symptoms return.
All parties involved seemed happy with the results. The researchers established the safety and efficacy of minocycline as a treatment for early multiple sclerosis, and the Swartouts got to be a part of making sure that happened.
Hank and Carol Swartout were excited about the results. “It’s very gratifying that the small bit we gave could help,” said Hank Swartout. “This is one of the most rewarding things we could have ever accomplished.”
The researchers, too, were excited. According to Dr. Luanne Metz, “Patients will now have yet another treatment option, one that does not require injections, monitoring lab work, or special authorization by their insurance company, provided they have adequate coverage to begin with. These processes can delay treatment initiation for three to four months, whereas minocycline can be started immediately.”
Another positive from this study is that minocycline is already a recognized medication. It will not have to jump through as many hoops to get prescribed to treat multiple sclerosis as a new drug would have to undergo. Help will come to people sooner.