Staying with or switching MS treatments

Most disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are meant to be taken long term. They are designed to slow disability progression.

Many people switch treatments

More than 30% of patients switch DMTs for reasons ranging from treatment expectations to side effects to financial concerns. You should keep taking your DMT as prescribed, unless your healthcare provider tells you to stop. This could be due to:

  • The side effects make you feel worse than the disease
  • Your healthcare provider determines that your medication is not working
  • You’re having trouble taking your treatment

Always consult your healthcare provider about starting or stopping your MS treatment.

Treatment expectations

When people take a DMT, they may think it will prevent a relapse. This isn’t necessarily the case. When you take a DMT, you may not notice the effects. DMTs work in the background to minimize damage and delay disability progression. DMTs don’t treat symptoms.

When your treatment isn’t working

If your healthcare provider does not think you are meeting your treatment goals, they may recommend you switch to another treatment.

Side effects

Everybody’s response to treatment is different. All treatments may have side effects, and some people experience worse side effects than others. No matter what you’re experiencing, it’s best to work with your healthcare provider to determine what to do next.

Learn about what to do when your treatment isn’t working

When switching to any new therapy, you have to weigh the benefits and risks with your doctor. Your healthcare provider may want to send you for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to check for new or growing lesions in your brain and spinal cord.

Health insurance issues

Some people stop taking their treatment when insurance companies raise a copayment or stop covering their medication.

There are a number of ways to address these issues. If a solution can’t be found, your healthcare provider may suggest another medication.

There are options

Different people respond better to different treatments. There are a number of DMTs available, so if your treatment isn’t working for you, talk to your healthcare provider about switching treatments.

Every DMT affects the immune system differently. When switching treatments, your healthcare provider should evaluate the way your current and potential treatments may work in your body.


Learn more

MS LifeLines is a registered trademark of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany or its affiliates.

EMD Serono is the Healthcare business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in the U.S. and Canada.

This information is intended only for residents of the United States.

Copyright ©2021 Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
EMD Serono, Inc., One Technology Place, Rockland, MA 02370

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