The treatment options for multiple sclerosis (MS) have come a long way over the past 10 years. People who have multiple sclerosis suffer because the disease will affect the nervous system. The nerves in the body are coated in a protective coating that is called myelin. People who have MS will experience the deterioration of the myelin. This can affect motor skills, vision, as well as cause slurred speech, muscle spasms and impaired memory and cognitive function. The disease can be debilitating and can take over a person’s life if they do not get treatment. There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis. However, there are many treatment options that can help slow the progression of the disease. They can also minimize symptoms during flare-ups and improve the physical and mental function in patients. These treatment options will help people with MS manage their disease and live a life that is not controlled by multiple sclerosis.
People who have multiple sclerosis often suffer through relapses of their symptoms. They may have one symptom that comes along once every few years, or some that can happen once and continue to get worse over the course of weeks or months. This is called active relapsing-remitting MS. There are medicines called disease-modifying drugs that can help slow down the progression of MS and help prevent these relapses from happening. These drugs work by suppressing the immune system so it does not attack the myelin that surrounds the nerves.
Two popular drugs that have been proven to reduce the number of exacerbations of MS symptoms are: interferon beta 1b drugs called Extavia and Betaseron, and glatiramer acetate drugs, one of which is called Copaxone. There are also disease-modifying drugs that help reduce exacerbations and slow the progression of MS. These include: Plegridy, Gilenya, Rebif, and Avonex. Another common treatment for multiple sclerosis is corticosteroids.These drugs will help reduce nerve inflammation. There are many drugs that can help reduce flare-ups of symptoms and help slow the progression of MS. Your doctor will know what side-effects happen with the different medications and which ones will be best for the symptoms you experience.
There is also a treatment for more severe cases of multiple sclerosis. There is a small percentage of people who have severe relapses of symptoms and they do not respond to steroids as a form of treatment. At this point, doctors may recommend a treatment options called plasma exchange. During this process, the liquid portion of your blood called plasma is removed and separated from your blood cells. The blood cells are then mixed with albumin, which is a protein solution. The plasma is then put back into your body. This treatment can help people who have also experienced new symptoms that were never present before in their time with MS.
There are many different symptoms that people experience when they have multiple sclerosis. Not every person with this disease will experience the same ones. The drugs that are listed above are aimed to help your nervous system be less prone to attack by your immune system and slow the progression of the disease. Some multiple sclerosis patients need mediations that are specific to the symptoms that they are feeling as a result of their MS. People often experience muscle spasms and stiffness, fatigue, depression and bladder problems. There are drugs available that target these specific symptoms. For muscle spasms or stiffness, people can take muscle relaxants like Zanaflex or Lioresal. For fatigue, MS patients can try Symmetrel or Provogil. People who experience depression with their MS may benefit from Prozac or Zoloft. Bladder problems can be helped with Ditropan or Detrol. Always talk to your doctor about the different symptoms that you are experiencing and they will suggest a treatment option for you. Never try to take a drug on your own as it could possibly worsen symptoms.
Medications are essential in the treatment of MS. Many people do not like taking medications all the time, but it is one of the only ways to help manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Patients can try physical therapy if they want a different form of treatment along with their medications. This will help you learn how to do exercises that will keep you more active and that are manageable with your MS symptoms. You can also use a cane or a walker to help you move around easier if this ability has been affected by MS.
Getting treatment as soon as possible is essential to living a normal life with MS. Starting medication early can help reduce damage caused by the disease as well as slow it down. You should be in constant contact with your doctor about any medications that have bad side-effects, or if you feel that they are not working properly. They can help you get on a medication regime that feels comfortable and will help you live a life that is not controlled by MS.