Doctor and Patient talkingThe purpose of this booklet is to provide information on progression in multiple sclerosis (MS), largely focusing on the progressive forms of the disease: secondary-progressive MS (SPMS) and primary-progressive MS (PPMS), which are more challenging in terms of both information and treatment. Since a significantly greater percentage of the MS population starts out with relapsing MS, information on progression in MS can be more difficult to find. Additionally, in contrast to relapsing forms of MS, where many treatments have been available for several years to slow disease activity, individuals experiencing progression in MS have had few, if any, treatment options.

However, times are changing for the better. In 2017, the first medication was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat PPMS, along with relapsing forms of MS, which includes SPMS with relapses. Adding to this good news is the fact that several other experimental therapies are currently under investigation to determine their effectiveness on slowing disease activity and progression in MS.

This booklet starts out with general background information on MS, aimed to assist anyone who is not familiar with the disease. In the sections to follow, readers may learn about how progression is measured and assessed in MS, revised classifications of MS, what processes are involved in the development and worsening of the disease, treatment options, symptom management, how to discuss progression with one’s neurologist, and wellness strategies.

For additional information on MS or to speak with one of MSAA’s trained Client Services specialists, readers may call MSAA’s Helpline at (800) 532-7667, extension 154. Questions to MSAA’s Client Services department may also be emailed to

Table of Contents | Next: Part I: Understanding Progression in MS