MS (Multiple Sclerosis) in Children
Preventing Attacks of MS continued...
Medications for MS are not approved by the FDA for treatment in patients younger than 18. However, doctors use immunomodulating drugs to treat children with MS, although dosing is modified.
Medications used for pediatric MS include:
Extensive studies have found these drugs to be effective and safe in adults with MS. Similar results have been seen in small studies of children with MS.
These medications are given by injection -- either into the muscle or beneath the skin. Your child’s doctor or nurse can work with you to make the injections less troublesome. Teenagers may be able to give themselves the injections.
In addition, treatments may be recommended for specific symptoms related to MS, such as muscle spasm, fatigue, and depression.
As with all medications, these can cause side effects. The most common side effects with interferons are flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, muscle aches, and headaches, which start shortly after the injections. Your child’s doctor can minimize these and other side effects by starting the medication at a low dose, increasing it gradually, and giving other medications to relieve the side effects.
The most common side effect of Copaxone is redness and swelling at the injection site. If this occurs, techniques such as applying cold packs can help ease swelling.
Treating MS Symptoms
Symptoms such as fatigue, numbness or tingling, muscle stiffness, and depression may linger following an attack. Fortunately there are many treatments, including physical and occupational therapy, counseling, and medications, to help relieve these symptoms.
It is also important to remember that not every symptom a child with MS experiences can be attributed to MS. Children with MS get the same illnesses that other children get. Fevers or infections may worsen MS symptoms temporarily, but symptoms generally improve once the fever subsides or infection is controlled.