Disease-modifying therapies, or DMTs, can help to slow down the disease progression and keep your MS stable.1 You will be required to make decisions about your MS treatment along the way, including which medication to take first, whether to switch medications, or you may wonder whether you can stop taking your medication altogether. At each step your neurologist may recommend you undergo a multiple sclerosis MRI scan so that he or she can assess any damage to your brain and nerves.
There are several DMTs available for the treatment of MS, and so it is important to have a careful and honest discussion with your doctor or specialist about what your options for treatment are, including the benefits and risks of each, how it is taken and how often, and how you will need to be monitored.2
In some people, the activity of the MS will return while they are taking a DMT. In these cases, it may be helpful to talk to your doctor or specialist about what other treatments might be an option. It is also important to note that for some of the DMTs, it can take some time (up to a year) for the medication to take full effect. So before switching treatment, your doctor may look at how active your condition is through a multiple sclerosis MRI scan.1
Sometimes people who use DMT want to stop or have a break from therapy if their symptoms are under control. You should speak to your specialist before stopping your treatment to discuss why you are considering stopping therapy (such as if you are experiencing side effects of the medication), what the risks and benefits of stopping therapy may be, and how often you should see your doctor.3 It is likely that you will continue to get MS MRI scans even while not on treatment so that your neurologist can monitor any damage to your brain and nerves.
Speak to your doctor or specialist about your treatment options, and always let them know if your symptoms are getting worse
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- American Academy of Neurology. Patient summary – Switching DMTS for MS. https://www.aan.com/Guidelines/home/GuidelineDetail/898 (last updated 2018).
- American Academy of Neurology. Patient summary – Starting DMTS for MS. https://www.aan.com/Guidelines/home/GuidelineDetail/898 (last updated 2018).
- American Academy of Neurology. Patient summary – Stopping DMTS for MS. https://www.aan.com/Guidelines/home/GuidelineDetail/898 (last updated 2018).