Treatments for MS
Long-term treatments for MS are also referred to as disease-modifying therapies (DMTs). Presently, these include 10 drug therapies to slow MS activity and progression, each of which is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for relapsing forms of MS (and some are also approved for clinically isolated syndrome, prior to the diagnosis of MS). In nearly all instances, these drugs are prescribed individually, so a patient only takes one DMT during any time period. Of these 10 approved drugs, five are given at home via injection; two are given by a medical professional via intravenous (IV) infusion; and three are taken orally.
Treating relapses helps to control the sudden flare-up of symptoms, also referred to as exacerbations or attacks. Relapses usually range in length from a few days to a few months before subsiding. While such treatments may be able to shorten the length of the relapse and lessen its severity, treating a relapse does not appear to affect the long-term progression of the disease or its symptoms.
Symptom management is another equally important area in the overall treatment of MS. Symptoms vary greatly from one individual to another, and each symptom needs to be addressed by healthcare professionals who specialize in MS. In addition to medications prescribed for a specific symptom, other treatment therapies - such as rehabilitation, counseling, and exercise, for example - may be recommended by the healthcare team to increase the effectiveness of managing certain symptoms.
Most of these medications are available by prescription only, but even with over-the-counter medications, anyone considering making a change to his or her present regimen should consult a physician. Some of the medications listed may cause side effects, and these can be managed by one's medical professional through adjusting dosage, switching drugs, or adding other medications.
Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant need to discuss any medications they are taking and any new medications they are considering with their doctor. For more information on pregnancy and MS, as well as the different classifications of FDA drug warnings for pregnancy, please see "Women with MS."
Please refer to MSAA's listing of Prescription Assistance Programs for information on financial help with many of these medications.
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) does not recommend or endorse any particular product, treatment, or medication. All information given is to increase awareness of the options available and should not be used to determine one's treatment plan. Specific treatment decisions should only be made in conjunction with one's neurologist and healthcare team.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2013 12:08|