Novartis has received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for Gilenya (fingolimod) for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.

Gilenya, which will be available in 0.5mg capsules, reduces relapses and slows down the progression of disability.

The drug is the first in a novel class that reduces the severity of the condition by blocking certain blood cells in the lymph nodes, reducing their movement to the brain and the spinal cord.

Patients taking Gilenya should be monitored for a decrease in heart rate, and the drug can also increase the risk of infections and cause serious eye problems such as macular edema.