Skip to content

Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

Font Size

Multiple Sclerosis: Other Treatments Under Study - Topic Overview

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 research.

Several immunosuppressants being studied or used for MS are:

Recommended Related to Multiple Sclerosis

Lhermitte’s Sign: What Is It, and How Do You Treat It?

Lhermitte’s sign, also called Lhermitte’s phenomenon or barber chair sign, is often one of the first symptoms mentioned by people newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). It was first recognized in 1924 by neurologist and neuropsychiatrist Jacques Jean Lhermitte.

Read the Lhermitte’s Sign: What Is It, and How Do You Treat It? article > >

  • Azathioprine (Imuran), which has shown conflicting results but may reduce the number of relapses in relapsing-remitting MS.
  • Cladribine (Leustatin), which has been used successfully against 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 results.
  • Methotrexate, which has also been used to treat cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. This drug may be of limited benefit in reducing the progression of MS.
  • Monoclonal antibodies, such as:
    • Alemtuzumab (Campath), which has been shown to reduce disability in relapsing-remitting MS. But the side effects of this medicine may include serious life-threatening complications.
    • Daclizumab (Zenapax), which may reduce disease activity in relapsing-remitting MS.
    • Rituximab (Rituxan), which has been shown to reduce the number of relapses in relapsing-remitting MS, but has had serious side effects, including PML.
  • Laquinimod, which is still experimental. It has been shown to reduce the number of active lesions in people with MS, as seen on MRI.

Other medicines being studied for multiple sclerosis (MS) include firategrast.

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 working.

Insurance may not cover all types of treatment.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: 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 information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Multiple Sclerosis: Other Treatments Under Study Topics

    Today on WebMD

    nerve damage
    Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
    woman applying lotion
    Ideas on how to boost your mood and self-esteem.
     
    woman pondering
    Get personalized treatment options.
    man with hand over eye
    Be on the lookout for these symptoms.
     
    brain scan
    ARTICLE
    worried woman
    ARTICLE
     
    neural fiber
    ARTICLE
    white blood cells
    VIDEO
     
    sunlight in hands
    ARTICLE
    illustration of human spine
    ARTICLE
     
    muscle spasm
    ARTICLE
    green eyed woman with glasses
    ARTICLE
     

    WebMD Special Sections