Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis has no cure. Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis focuses on recovering from attacks quickly, managing the symptoms, and slowing down the progression of the disorder. In some cases, the symptoms of the disease are very mild, so Multiple Sclerosis treatments are not required.
Treatments for attacks
- Corticosteroids: This treatment for Multiple Sclerosis may include oral medications like prednisone or intravenous drugs such as methylprednisolone, which is given to decrease inflammation of the nerves in relapses of Multiple Sclerosis. Corticosteroids can have severe side effects, and short-term therapy is usually recommended. Common side effects include fluid retention, insomnia, mood swings, and increased blood pressure.
- Plasmapheresis: This cure for Multiple Sclerosis is also known as plasma exchange, and it is used to treat patients whose symptoms are severe and have not responded to steroids. This therapy involves separating the blood cells from the plasma or liquid part of the blood. The blood cells are treated with a protein (albumin) mixture and re-infused.
Is there a cure for Multiple Sclerosis?
Treatments to modify the progression
There is no cure for Multiple Sclerosis to slow down the course of primary-progressive Multiple Sclerosis, but for relapsing-remitting MS, some drugs have been shown to lower the rate of relapse and decrease the rate of new symptoms form. Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis include:
- Beta interferons: These medicines are injected into a muscle or under the skin. They can cause problems in the liver, so liver function tests need to be monitored when treated with these medications. Some side effects include an injection site reaction and flu-like symptoms.
- Glatiramer acetate (Copaxone): This drug may assist in blocking the body’s immune system response to myelin. It is given by injection, and a potential side effect is skin irritation at the injection site.
- Dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera): This is an oral medication given twice daily to decrease Multiple Sclerosis relapses. Side effects may include a reduced white blood cell count, flushing, nausea, and diarrhea.
- Fingolimod (Gilenya): This is an oral medication given once daily to decrease Multiple Sclerosis relapses. This drug may slow the heart rate significantly, so patients are closely monitored after the first dose. Other side effects include blurred vision and hypertension.
- Teriflunomide (Aubagio): This is a medicine taken once daily to reduce the relapse rate of Multiple Sclerosis. It can cause hair loss, liver dysfunction, and other side effects and cannot be used during pregnancy.
- Natalizumab (Tysabri): This medication protects the spinal cord and brain from attacking immune cells traveling in the bloodstream. People who take this drug for Multiple Sclerosis are at increased risk for progressive multifocal Leukoencephalopathy, which is an infection of the brain caused by a virus. This medication is usually only used in patients with severe multiple Sclerosis or in patients who have failed to respond to other treatment for Multiple Sclerosis.
- Mitoxantrone (Novantrone): This drug is also reserved for patients with advanced Multiple Sclerosis. It is an immunosuppressant, and it has been linked to an increased risk for blood cancers, and it can cause heart complications.
MS treatment options
- Physical and occupational therapy: One of the MS treatment options is physical therapy. Trained therapists can help patients learn to strengthen and stretch exercises, provide instructions in the use of assistive equipment and devices and assist in making the home environment safer and more convenient. They can also teach the patient energy conservation techniques and serve as Multiple Sclerosis treatments.
- Muscle relaxants: Painful muscle spasms and muscle stiffness are frequent symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. Physicians often recommend muscle relaxants to help control these symptoms. Examples of muscle relaxants include tizanidine and baclofen.
- Other medications: Other medications for Multiple Sclerosis treatment that may be recommended by a physician include antidepressants, analgesics, and medications that can help with problems associated with the bowels of the bladder related to Multiple Sclerosis.
Living with MS
In order to manage Multiple Sclerosis symptoms, try these other treatments for Multiple Sclerosis:
- Get plenty of rest: Your body needs time to rest. Ideally, you should sleep at least eight hours a night. Take naps during the day if you feel tired.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can help people with mild to moderate Multiple Sclerosis improve their coordination and balance, muscle tone, and strength. Water exercises and swimming may be good options if you have problems walking or if the heat bothers you. Other activities recommended for Multiple Sclerosis include stretching, walking, stationary biking, yoga, low-impact aerobics, or tai chi.
- Keep cool: The symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis are often worse when the temperature of the body increases. Avoid heat exposure. Cooling vests or scarves may help your symptoms and serve as a treatment for Multiple Sclerosis.
- Eat a well-balanced diet: A balanced diet is a good idea for anyone, not just those who have Multiple Sclerosis. Some studies have suggested that diets low in saturated fats and high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish and olive oils, may benefit MS. More research is needed. It has also been suggested that vitamin D could benefit people with Multiple Sclerosis.
- Lower your stress: Find ways to cope with your stress because increased and unmanaged stress can worsen your symptoms. Consider trying yoga, massage, tai chi, deep breathing, or meditation as a treatment for Multiple Sclerosis.
Coping and support
Other ways to manage the stress of living with Multiple Sclerosis you may find beneficial for treatment for Multiple Sclerosis include:
- Try to keep doing your normal daily activities as much as possible.
- Maintain your relationships with close friends and your family.
- Pursue hobbies you enjoy.
- Consider joining a support group for you or members of your family.
- Talk about your concerns and feelings with a counselor or with your doctor.
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