Early Treatment for Relapsing-Remitting MS

Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) is the most common kind of multiple sclerosis. Getting prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms and make it less likely your MS will get worse.

How Early Should I Start Treatment for Relapsing-Remitting MS?

MS medications can help you have fewer attacks and make them less severe. They also make it less likely that you will get new areas of damage or disease in your brain. And some research shows that they delay symptoms that can cause you to have physical disabilities.

Research suggests that sooner is better with RRMS treatment. One study shows that people who began treatment as soon as their first symptoms started were 35% less likely to have a repeat attack.

American Academy of Neurology guidelines say that doctors should start talking to their patients about treatment as soon they make a diagnosis.

How Long Will I Need to Be on the Medication?

Your doctor will probably suggest that you stay on treatment for as long as it is working and the side effects are not causing you serious discomfort or other problems.

If a medication stops working or you do have side effects, you can talk with your doctor about switching medications or adjusting doses.

What Are the Medication Choices?

The FDA has approved more than 17 drugs to treat relapsing-remitting MS.

They come in three different types. Some are pills that you swallow. Others come as shots, which are done by a doctor or by yourself.

 A third kind is given to you in a doctor's office through an IV infusion into your blood vessels.

Which Medicine Is Right for Me?

Your doctor will talk to you about your symptoms and lifestyle to figure out which drug will work best. And if you have side effects or one medication is not working well, you can switch to another one until you find one that is best for you.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on March 20, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry: "Time matters in multiple sclerosis: can early treatment and long-term follow-up ensure everyone benefits from the latest advances in multiple sclerosis?"

National MS Society: "Disease-modifying Therapies for MS."

American Academy of Neurology, Brain and Life: "Why MS Patients May Benefit from Aggressive Early Treatment."

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