Treatment can make living with
multiple sclerosis (MS) easier. Your type of treatment
will depend on the severity of your symptoms and whether your disease is active
or in remission.
In an attempt to slow down the
multiple sclerosis (MS), treatment with medicine is
usually recommended when MS has been diagnosed. Findings from clinical studies
show that people treated soon after being diagnosed with MS may have better
results than those who delay treatment. Permanent damage to the
nervous system may occur in the initial stages of the
disease. Early treatment may help prevent or delay some of this damage.
Medicines used to treat MS are called disease-modifying
therapies, and they include:
These medicines suppress or
alter the activity of the
Although these medicines do not
cure MS, they may reduce the overall number, frequency, and severity of
relapses in some people who have the
relapsing-remitting MS. They may also reduce or delay
disability with this type of MS. Some of these medicines are also used to slow disease progression
in people who have secondary progressive MS.
If you decide
not to try disease-modifying therapy at this time, you can work with your
doctor to regularly evaluate whether the disease is progressing. For more
information on this decision, see:
- Multiple Sclerosis: Should I Start Taking Medicines for MS?
occupational therapy, and nonmedical treatment done at
home can help you manage symptoms and adjust to living and working situations.
For more information, see:
- Multiple Sclerosis: Rehabilitation Programs.
If you have been diagnosed with
multiple sclerosis (MS), you may need to take medicine
The medicines used most commonly to treat MS are:
Other medicines your doctor may have you try include:
- Fingolimod (Gilenya). Gilenya is the only medicine for MS that you can take by mouth (oral).
- Natalizumab (Tysabri). Tysabri was taken off
the market in 2005 after studies showed the medicine could possibly be linked
to a serious infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).
Soon after, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) re-approved Tysabri for
use in people with relapsing forms of MS. If you are taking Tysabri, you will
be watched closely for signs of any serious side effects.
- Intravenous immune globulin (IVIG). Intravenous means the medicine is given in a
vein. Immune globulin is a protein in human blood and tissue fluids. These
proteins are similar to antibodies, which help the body's immune system
recognize and destroy foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses.
These medicines suppress or alter the activity of the
immune system. Evidence suggests that MS is an
autoimmune disease, a disease in which the immune
system attacks normal body tissue. In this case, the myelin coating surrounding
nerve fibers is attacked by the immune system.