Treating multiple sclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disorder of the central nervous system, is essential as it can affect patients’ quality of life. Although this disease is incurable, there are many treatment options for multiple sclerosis available to manage the symptoms. The treatment options vary depending on the type of multiple sclerosis. Let’s look at a few of them:
They are long-term treatment options for multiple sclerosis that include medications to help reduce the frequency and severity of the symptoms or relapses. Ocrelizumab is an immunosuppressant and the only FDA-approved medication for the treatment of primary-progressive multiple sclerosis. For relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, medications come in the form of injections, infusions, and oral treatments. These medications are prescribed by a neurologist who specializes in treating the condition.
They are given under the skin or into the muscle and might cause sore skin, redness, or itchiness. The following medications are given as injections:
Beta interferons: They are commonly used to treat multiple sclerosis and help ease the severity and frequency of flare-ups. They include:
- interferon beta-1a
- interferon beta-1b
- pegylated interferon beta- 1a
Glatiramer acetate: This medication is designed for patients of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and aims to stop the immune system from attacking the myelin sheath.
If other treatment options do not provide the desired results, certain medications may be given through intravenous infusion. These infusions work by curbing the immune system and preventing it from attacking the nerves:
- Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada)
- Mitoxantrone (Novantrone)
- Natalizumab (Tysabri)
- Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus)
This includes the following pills and capsules that need to be taken orally:
- Dimethyl fumarate
- Diroximel fumarate
These medications, although effective, may have some adverse effects, including flu-like symptoms, flushing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage, blood pressure, and heart rate changes.
Treatment for relapses
They are used to ease the inflammation caused by multiple sclerosis relapses, and they usually reduce the severity and duration of attacks. Relapses occur with relapsing-remitting and secondary-progressive forms of the condition, and both intravenous and oral corticosteroids are available to treat it. These include methylprednisolone and prednisone steroids.
Other treatment options for multiple sclerosis
- Plasma exchange
This process is used when a flare-up does not reduce with steroids. Blood is extracted and filtered to remove antibodies that are attacking the nervous system, and then it is reintroduced into the patient’s body through transfusion.
- ACTH (H.P. Acthar Gel)
This is an FDA-approved injection for treating multiple sclerosis relapses and is used as an alternative to steroids to relieve inflammation in the body.
- Intravenous immunoglobulin
This treatment is used when other options are not effective, and the patient is experiencing severe relapse. This therapy helps boost the immune system, but further studies are needed to determine its effectiveness.
Treatment options for multiple sclerosis mainly aim to slow down the progression of the disease, reduce the severity and duration of a relapse, and treat the symptoms individually.