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how gilenya works

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that attacks the healthy tissues in the central nervous system (CNS). When MS attacks the nerve fibers and the covering that surrounds and protects the body's nerve fibers (called myelin), nerve impulses are interrupted, causing MS symptoms.

Research is still being done on which immune cells are mounting the attack, the factors that cause the attack, and the sites that appear to be attracted to the myelin to begin the destructive process. There are plenty of Web sites that provide a more thorough scientific description of this process (check out, for example), but here's a quick snapshot on how cells called lymphocytes impact the immune system:

The immune system contains a network of lymph nodes, which are tiny glands containing immune cells called lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are normally good guys, but sometimes they can go rogue. This can mean they go after your CNS and cause problems.

While it's not exactly clear how GILENYA® works, it is thought to keep lymphocytes from attacking your central nervous system by lowering the number of lymphocytes circulating in your blood.

Scientists believe that GILENYA is thought to work by keeping some lymphocytes locked up inside the lymph nodes.* If lymphocytes are prevented from reaching the central nervous system, there may be less inflammatory damage to the covering of nerve fibers.

During GILENYA treatment, some lymphocytes are still circulating and available to do their job, watching out for intruders like viruses and bacteria.

If your doctor decides to stop your GILENYA treatment for any reason, the "door" of the lymph node is opened up. Within a few days, the number of lymphocytes circulating in your blood increases, and then gradually returns to original levels — usually within 1 to 2 months.

GILENYA moa video


*This effect was only observed in animal models.

For relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS)

Join the "HEY MS" Conversation!

Speak up and share your message. Tell MS how you really feel by posting your message on the GILENYA® map.

Make sure your voice is heard. We love that you want to say "Take This!" to MS, but there are still some words even we can't use—words that might not be appropriate. They're defined in the Community Guidelines below. But have no fear; we'll give you a heads up if you use any problematic words by highlighting them after you hit submit. So, go for it, and tell MS how you really feel!

  • Do not include medical advice or any non-approved use of GILENYA

  • No profane, indecent, or inappropriate language in your message or image, please (a no-no)

  • Avoid using your full name and/or e-mail address in your message, so this personal information remains private and protected

  • Do not include spam, such as links to or URLs for other Web sites or social networks in your message

  • Refrain from sharing any treatment and/or dosage information, as well as names of specific medicines (brand name or generic) and product manufacturers.

  • Avoid mention of side effects from GILENYA. We take drug product safety seriously. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call

Please note that in order to comply with our Community Guidelines as well as the FDA's Prescription Drug Advertising Guidelines, your statement may be subject to modification, while maintaining the spirit of your message. Your photo and statement may be used in other GILENYA marketing materials.

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