Read as much as you want on BostonGlobe.com, anywhere and anytime, for just 99¢.

Around the Region

Death ‘likely unrelated’ to MS pill

The biotechnology company Biogen Idec Inc. said Monday that it was investigating the death of a patient who took its new multiple sclerosis pill, Tecfidera.

But the Weston company said the death was “likely unrelated” to the medication, based on preliminary findings.

Continue reading below

Spokeswoman Kate Niazi-Sai said company safety officials learned late last week that a 59-year-old woman who had taken Tecfidera for 5½ weeks died 2½ weeks after she stopped taking the pill.

Niazi-Sai said the patient discontinued taking Tecfidera because of gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

But the cause of death was bilateral pneumonia, a condition that occurs more frequently in multiple sclerosis patients than in the general public, Niazi-Sai said.

Apparently, gastrointestinal issues did not cause the death, the Biogen Idec spokeswoman said.

In a note to investors, a biotechnology analyst, Mark Schoenebaum of ISI Group in New York, described the event as a “non-issue” for Biogen Idec.

Robert Weisman can be reached at weisman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeRobW.
Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week