Multiple sclerosis is a debilitating disease in which the immune system turns against the brain and spinal cord, and even the optic nerves. Multiple sclerosis, or MS, can affect motor function, vision and balance. Because symptoms and severity of symptoms can vary from person to person, some individuals may need treatment right away to control the disease, while others may never need treatment. In particular, MS causes the immune system to attack the myelin, a protective sheathe around the nerves that protects them from damage, making the nerves vulnerable. Treatment for MS, then involves suppressing the immune system enough to delay or prevent the immune system from attacking the myelin of the brain and spinal cord. When looking to manage and control multiple sclerosis symptoms, several treatment options are available that too many MS patients don’t know about. Be sure to discuss these various options with a doctor.
Top Multiple Sclerosis Treatments:
- Beta Interferons
The primary multiple sclerosis treatments can work wonders in slowing the progression of the disease and reducing symptoms as well as the number and frequency of MS attacks when symptoms may be at their absolute worst. Read on to learn about the most effective multiple sclerosis treatments.
Prednisone is a corticosteroid designed to suppress the immune system to reduce nerve inflammation. This makes it an ideal means for fighting MS attacks where symptoms may be at their worst for a short period of time. If MS attacks are producing disability it may be necessary to seek Predisone treatment or a similar multiple sclerosis treatment option from your doctor. Prednisone may be taken in varying doses and may need to be taken multiple times per day. You may have to mark your doses on a calendar to keep track. Side effects of Pednisone can include insomnia, mood swings and high blood pressure.
- Treatment is short-term
- Only prescribed for MS attacks
- Few serious side effects
Tysabri is a monoclonal antibody that slows the movement of harmful immune cells from the bloodstream and into the brain and spinal cord. Approved by the US FDA, this monotherapy is intended for the treatment of relapsing multiple sclerosis such as SPMS and RRMS. Over time, Tysabri can reduce the number of relapses. Side effects include fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, stomach pain, diarrhea, and more.
- Classified as monoclonal antibody.
- Administered once every four weeks.
- Reduces frequency of MS relapses.
Copaxone is an injected multiple sclerosis medication that can help block the immune system from attacking the myelin of the nerves. It can help prevent or reduce the frequency and severity of multiple sclerosis symptom relapses. Side effects of Copaxone can include pain or swelling at the site of injection. Copaxone is surprisingly versatile when it comes to dosage, allowing patients to take 20 mg every day or up to 40 mg three times a week.
- Requires injections multiple times per week
- Minimal side effects
- Side effects are not long lasting
Beta interferons are the most common MS medications prescribed by doctors. Like Copaxone, it is injected under the skin. It may also be injected into a muscle. It is designed to reduce the severity and frequency of relapses. However, beta interferons can cause side effects such as flu like symptoms and reactions at the injection site. It can also cause liver damage, meaning liver enzymes may need to be monitored.
- Commonly prescribed medication
- Can cause flu-like symptoms
- Can reduce severity and frequency of relapses
Tecfidera is an oral medication for relapsing MS. Tecfidera can be taken twice daily. This eliminates the need for painful injections In a 2-year study, MS relapse rates were cut in half. Patients can get this medication with a $0 copay if eligible, making it readily affordable.
- $0 copay for qualifying patients
- Can cut relapses in half
- Taken twice daily
Lemtrada is a unique type of effective MS treatment that can reduce the number of relapses in relapsing MS by targeting a certain protein. This protein, present on the surface of immune cells can help limit the damage caused by immune cells in order to limit nerve damage. It also works to deplete white blood cells as well, to reduce the number of damaging cells. Lemtrada is often given for five consecutive days, and another three days the following year. Those taking this medication must be monitored carefully in a drug safety monitoring program.
- Must be placed in a monitoring program
- Only taken for 5 days out of the year, then only 3 the next year
- Targets white blood cells
Multiple Sclerosis can be a crippling disease that can dramatically affect a person’s quality of life. But with the top MS medications designed to control the frequency and severity of MS symptoms, it doesn’t have to consume your life. Talk to your doctor about any of the above mentioned treatments if you have or are concerned about multiple sclerosis.