Researchers continually search for new or better medicines to treat
multiple sclerosis (MS). MS appears to be a
disease in which the
immune system attacks the covering of the nerves
(myelin) within the brain and spinal cord. So treatments that reduce the activity
of the immune system may slow the progression of the disease. Medicines that
work in this manner are called immunosuppressants. They are a major focus of MS
Several immunosuppressants being studied or used for MS are:
A person with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) may first seek medical care because of leg weakness or difficulty walking. Those are the most common symptoms of this type of MS.
PPMS steadily worsens after it first develops. Neurological disability will accumulate over time. How fast or to what degree disability develops varies for each person and can't be predicted. And in PPMS -- unlike some other types of MS -- there are no relapses or remissions.
Ten percent to 15% of people with...
Azathioprine (Imuran), which has shown conflicting results but may reduce the number of relapses in relapsing-remitting MS.
(Leustatin), which has been used successfully
leukemia. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not approve this drug for treatment of MS because of serious side effects, including death.
Cyclophosphamide, which some experts
believe stabilizes MS without improving it. But research has shown conflicting
Any therapy that can be used to treat MS must be judged by how it
affects a person's degree of disability. Newer studies rely on the results of
MRI scans and the progression of disability to evaluate how well therapy is
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this