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Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in Children

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Prevent MS Attacks

Corticosteroids can ease attacks, but they don’t prevent them. Doctors prescribe other types of drugs to do that. These meds reduce the number of attacks and keep the disease from getting worse quickly.

The FDA hasn’t approved MS medications for people younger than age 18. But doctors use some of them to treat children with the condition, but at a different dose than adults get.

Medications for children with MS include:

Your child will get these meds by injection -- either into the muscle or beneath the skin. The doctor or nurse can work with you on how to make them easier for your child. Teenagers may be able to give themselves the shots.

Scientists haven’t done as much research on how these drugs affect children as they have for adults. But the results of small studies have shown that they work well and are safe for kids.

Doctors can also treat specific symptoms related to MS, such as muscle spasms, fatigue, and depression.

Just like any medication, these can cause side effects. The most common ones with interferons are flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, muscle aches, and headaches, which start shortly after someone gets an injection. Your child’s doctor can ease side effects by giving a low dose of the drug at first and increasing it gradually. There are also other medications to relieve some side effects.

The most common side effect of Copaxone is redness and swelling at the spot where your child gets the shot. Cold packs can help with those problems.

Treatment for MS Symptoms

Symptoms such as fatigue, numbness or tingling, muscle stiffness, and depression may not go away entirely after an attack. But there are many treatments to help relieve them, including physical and occupational therapy, counseling, and medications.

Also, not every symptom your child might have is a result of the disease. Children with MS get the same illnesses other kids get. Fevers or infections may make MS symptoms worse for a little while, but they usually get better once the fever goes down or an infection is under control.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD on June 14, 2015
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