There are medications which can reduce the number of relapses and slow down the progression of the disease1


Being told you have MS is a stressful life event. Because of this, you may not remember much of what your doctor explained at the time you were diagnosed. To help with this, your doctor may arrange a separate appointment to discuss treatment options, so that you can understand the benefits and potential side effects of the different medications, and so that he or she can understand what is important to you. 

Significant advances have been made in the treatment of MS in recent years, and there are effective treatments for patients with MS.1,2 Because you will need to take your medication for a long time and because it is really important to take it correctly, it is important to be involved in choosing your MS medication.1,3 This includes thinking about what may or may not suit your lifestyle, and sharing any concerns or fears you have with your doctor.

There are different types of medications that can help people with MS, depending on the type of MS you have and what symptoms you are experiencing:

icon_med_boxDisease-modifying therapy (DMT)

These medications can reduce the number of relapses you experience and can slow the progression of the disease and the appearance of any new lesions on your brain.1 There are a range of disease-modifying treatments available, with different ways of working. Some work by stopping the immune system from attacking the myelin on your nerve cells or by reducing inflammation. Disease-modifying therapies come in different forms. Some can be taken at home while others are given at hospital.4 There can be differences in how well the medicines work, and the side effects they might cause.4,5

 

icon_medicineMedications to treat symptoms

These can include

  • Muscle relaxants to help with painful or uncontrollable muscle stiffness or spasms
  • Medications to help with fatigue
  • Medicines to increase walking speed
  • Treatments for depression, insomnia, anxiety or other mental health conditions
  • Pain medications
  • Medications to help with sexual dysfunction, or bladder or bowel control problems

Regardless of the medication you and your doctor decide on, you will be monitored closely by your healthcare team. This means you may need to undergo different tests, such as blood tests or brain scans at various times to ensure the medication is working and that any side effects are monitored.

Your specialist is the best person to provide advice on the available treatments. It’s ok to ask questions, and to share your concerns and fears.

References:

  • Rae-Grant A, et al. Neurology. 2018;90:777-788.
  • Kesselring J. Eur Neurological Rev. 2017;12(1):31-36.
  • Broadley SA, et al. Med J Aust. 2015; 203(3):139-141.
  • Mayo Clinic. Multiple sclerosis- Diagnosis and treatment. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiplesclerosis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350274 (last updated 12 June 2020). 
  • Giovannoni G, et al. Neurol Ther. 2020 Dec;9(2):359-374.