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Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis

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Disease Modifying Drugs

If you have RRMS, your doctor may prescribe medications called disease modifying drugs (DMDs). This treatment may also be called immunotherapy or disease modifying therapy (DMT).

Disease modifying drugs treat relapses by reducing their:

  • Frequency
  • Severity

The drugs work by dulling the body's immune system. DMDs may help slow disease progression.

You can take some DMDs by injection -- which you can do on your own. These drugs include:

Some DMDs need to be taken by IV at a clinic or hospital. These include:

There are three oral DMDs that can be used for relapsing-remitting MS. They are:

  • Aubagio (teriflunomide)  
  • Gilenya (fingolimod)
  • Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate)

DMDs have side effects. You and your doctor will weigh the risks and benefits of each drug. And your doctor will follow you closely during treatment.

Steroid Treatment for Flare-ups

If you have RRMS you will experience periodic relapses or flare-ups. These are caused by inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Reducing the inflammation is key to resolving a relapse.

You may not need to be treated if the flare-up is mild. If you have severe symptoms, your doctor may recommend steroids. Some steroids are given with an IV and some are oral drugs.

A short-term, high-dose course of steroids can help:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Reduce the length and severity of the relapse

Other drugs are sometimes used to treat the wide range of symptoms that you may experience from RRMS. You may be prescribed drugs such as:

  • Antidepressants
  • Pain relievers
  • Drugs to lessen fatigue

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

Keeping to a healthy lifestyle is important if you have relapsing-remitting MS. Be sure to:

  • Stick to a healthy, nutritious diet
  • Keep to a healthy weight

Exercise is also useful. Just as with all types of MS, exercise can help you:

  • Stay mobile
  • Control your weight
  • Boost your mood and energy

Some tips for exercise include:

  • Start exercising slowly
  • Avoid getting overheated if you are sensitive to heat
  • Ask a physical therapist to help you build an exercise program

Suggestions for exercises include:

  • Gentle aerobic activity
  • Range-of-motion exercises
  • Stretching and strengthening
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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Richard Senelick, MD on October 23, 2012
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