What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
There is no cure for MS right now, but a number of treatments can improve how you feel and keep your body working well.
Your doctor can also prescribe drugs that may slow the course of the disease, prevent or treat attacks, ease your symptoms, or help you manage the stress that can come with the condition.
Drugs that may slow your MS or help nerve damage include:
- Beta interferon (Avonex, Betaseron, and Rebif)
- Copolymer-1 (Copaxone)
- Dimethyl fumarate
- Mitoxantrone (Novantrone)
- Dalfampridine (Ampyra)
- Natalizumab (Tysabri)
Your doctor may give you steroids to make your MS attacks shorter and less severe. You can also try other drugs, like muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, or botulinum toxin (Botox), to ease muscle spasms and treat some of the other symptoms.
A physical therapist can teach you exercises that will keep up your strength and balance and help you manage fatigue and pain. An occupational therapist can teach you new ways to do certain tasks to make it easier to work and take care of yourself. If you have trouble getting around, a cane, walker, or braces can help you walk more easily.
Along with treatment, you can do other things to ease your MS symptoms. Get regular exercise and avoid too much heat to boost your energy. Ask your doctor about trying yoga to ease fatigue or stress. Take care of your emotional health, too. It’s OK to ask family, friends, or a counselor for help with any stress or anxiety you may feel. Support groups are also great places to connect with other people living with MS.
What’s the Outlook for MS?
Research is giving doctors more treatment options for the condition, a better idea of what causes it, and the ability to diagnose it earlier. Stem-cell and genetic research may soon help doctors repair damaged nerves or stop the disease before it causes damage.
Scientists are also looking for new ways to treat MS in clinical trials. These trials test new drugs to see if they're safe and if they work. They're often a way for people to try new medicine that isn’t available to everyone. Ask your doctor if one of these trials might be a good fit for you.