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How long does it take Gilenya to work?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on April 18, 2023.

Official answer

  • Within 4 to 6 hours of the first dose of Gilenya, blood lymphocyte counts have fallen to 60% of baseline.
  • It takes approximately two weeks of dosing for Gilenya to reach its maximum effect, which is a lymphocyte count of 30% of baseline or around 500cells/mcL.

Gilenya (fingolimod) is an immunosuppressant that may be used for the treatment of relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) in adults, and children and adolescents aged 10 years and older.

Research has shown a decrease in blood lymphocyte count to approximately 60% of baseline within four to six hours of the first dose of Gilenya.

With continued dosing, the lymphocyte count continued to decrease eventually reaching a low point (called the nadir count) of blood lymphocyte count that corresponded to 30% of baseline or 500 cells/mcL. Some studies have reported nadir counts of <200 cells/mcL in patients on at least one occasion.

How does Gilenya work?

Gilenya works by blocking the migration of lymphocytes (a type of immune cell) from the lymph nodes into the bloodstream.

Although it is not exactly known how fingolimod exerts its effects in multiple sclerosis it may be due to a decrease in the migration of lymphocytes into the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).

Gilenya will not cure MS, it will only decrease the frequency of relapse symptoms.


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