What Is Natalizumab Used For?

How Does It Work?

An antibody (also known as an immunoglobulin) is a protein made by the immune system. Antibodies bind to substances in the body called antigens. Natalizumab is an anti-alpha-4-integrin antibody. This means it binds to and blocks alpha-4-integrin.
Apha-4-integrins are molecules found on most white blood cells (immune cells). They help white blood cells bind to other cells. When white blood cells bind to certain other cells in blood vessels near the brain, the white blood cells can get into the brain, where they can damage myelin. When white blood cells bind to certain cells in the gastrointestinal tract, they may cause inflammation.
The exact way natalizumab works for MS and Crohn's disease is not entirely known. It is believed that by blocking alpha-4-integrin, natalizumab prevents white blood cells from binding to other cells. This prevents white blood cells from getting into the brain and attacking nerves (which can help with MS) and from causing inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, which can help with Crohn's disease.

Can Children Use It?

Natalizumab is only approved for use in people who are at least 18 years of age. It has not been adequately studied in children. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the particular benefits and risks of using this drug in children.

Is It Safe for Older Adults?

Older adults can use natalizumab; however, it is unknown if they will respond in the same way to the medicine as younger age groups. This is because clinical studies did not include enough people aged 65 and older to make valid comparisons between age groups.

Are There Off-Label Reasons to Use Natalizumab?

On occasion, healthcare providers may recommend medications for something other than the approved uses. This is called an "off-label" use. At this time, there are no well-accepted off-label uses for this drug.
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Natalizumab Drug Information

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