What are the treatments for the disease?
Treatment has two main goals. The first is to stop or slow the immune
system's attack on the myelin coating of the nerves. The second is to relieve
the symptoms and help the person function as normally as possible.
The immune system is treated with medicines. Some of the most commonly used
medicines for ongoing treatment of MS are:
interferon beta 1-a
interferon beta 1-b
Other treatments include:
antidepressant medicines to relieve
depression and reduce the risk for suicide
high doses of corticosteroids such as methylprednisolone to relieve
inflammation during relapses
medicines for loss of bladder control, including oxybutynin or
medicines for muscle spasms, including baclofen, tizanidine, or botulism
medicines for nerve pain, such as carbamazepine, diphenylhydantoin, or
plasmapheresis, or removal of plasma, which is then treated and put back or
retransfused into the body
A rehabilitation program is important to maintain as much function as possible
and prevent complications of disability. Rehabilitation
may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Side effects vary depending on the medicine used. They may include drowsiness,
stomach upset, and allergic reaction to the medicine.
Corticosteroids may cause a variety of side effects, particularly when used
long term. Water retention, swelling, and increased blood glucose levels can
The only side effects from rehabilitation therapy are some
fatigue and muscle soreness.
This is a normal part of a therapy program. It does not mean that the MS is
What happens after treatment for the disease?
Monitoring and treatment of multiple sclerosis is lifelong. The progression of
MS can be slowed quite a bit with the medicines. Treatment of symptoms,
including medicines and therapy, can help reduce disability.
How is the disease monitored?
Blood tests, including a complete blood count, or CBC, and liver function
tests, are used to monitor people who are taking certain medicines.
An individual with MS will have regular visits to a primary healthcare
provider, as well as various specialists. Any new or worsening symptoms should
be reported to the appropriate healthcare provider.