A doctor called recently and asked my opinion on using Lisinopril for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.

  • What is Lisinopril? Lisinopril is an angiotensin converting enzyme commonly used to treat high blood pressure. It lowers blood pressure by reducing the production of angiotensin II, thereby relaxing arterial muscles. When relaxed, the arteries open more and cause less resistance to blood flow. Hence, lower blood pressure.

Discussions about using it for multiple sclerosis started to pop up in 2009, and some clinical research started in 2012. The idea behind using it for MS seems to be rooted in the idea that some of the damage done by MS is related to insufficient blood flow to the brain. If the flow to the brain is increased there’s a belief that the level of brain atrophy (cells that waste away and degenerate) would decline.

There are no mentions in the papers I read that suggests that lisinopril has any effect on the immune system. As MS is categorized as an immune condition (and I agree with this part), approaching symptoms with a completely other form of treatment seems a contradiction, especially when the other form also presents other side effects – many of which can be fatal. Of course, any drug can be fatal. Also, there seems scant evidence that brain atrophy is a cause of MS. It is more likely the result of the condition. Sadly, once atrophied (lost, wasted) it is highly unlikely brain cells will regenerate to normal. The goal, then, should be to halt the progress of teh disease before any permanent damage occurs.

People in the drug world have looked at other existing drugs as a possible treatment for MS, even statins, probably because the belief persists that only a drug can ease symptoms or cause remission.

 The real fact is that inflammation is caused by things we can do something about if we’re serious and begin early. Waiting until years after immune symptoms (multiple sclerosis, arthritis, psoriasis, irritable bowel disease, Parkinson’s, diabetes II, and so on) are present probably won’t elicit positive changes as well as a good diet, clean water, and avoidance of substances that cause inflammation.

What is a likely cause of Multiple Sclerosis? Instead of flailing around looking for more drugs to supposedly treat symptoms, we should be looking closely at the underlying cause of multiple sclerosis, and all the other chronic conditions – inflammation.

As usual, there’s far less  financial reward to be gained by preventing and curing than in selling yet another drug.