If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS), you may be ready to learn more about a relapsing MS treatment option.MS medications | Living with MS Expand this section
Disease-modifying drugs (DMDs)
These are commonly prescribed to treat relapsing MS. These therapies include beta interferons, glatiramer acetate, dimethyl fumarate, and fingolimod.
Complementary and alternative medicines
These include everything from specific exercise and diet regimens to the addition of certain food and herbal supplements to incorporation of stress management strategies. These approaches don’t fall under what is considered conventional medicine. The important distinction between complementary and alternative is this:
Of course, you should talk to your doctor before taking any new medications or stopping your prescribed MS treatment.
Some things are a good idea whether you are living with MS or not. Among them are:
Another good idea is to reach out to your MS community when you need help. MS LifeLines Ambassadors, people just like you living with MS, are available to talk 24/7.
It is important to get on treatment with disease-modifying drugs (DMDs) soon after diagnosis. Why? Because MS can still be active, even when you don’t notice the outward signs.Expand this section
A reality of MS is that permanent damage to nerve fibers may occur early in the disease. So both The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) advise treating active relapsing MS with a disease-modifying drug soon after diagnosis.
If you’re newly diagnosed, this can be a lot of information to take in. However, our Doctor Conversation Starter can help enhance your conversations with your doctor as you look for the right treatment.
Be informed and educated about your MS treatment decisions. That’s what we call being MSmart.
When it comes to treating your relapsing MS, your doctor will most likely have three key treatment goals in mind.Treatment goals | Assessment Expand this section
They include slowing disability progression, reducing the frequency of relapses, and reducing the development of new brain lesions as seen on MRI. The exact correlation between MRI findings and the current or future clinical status of patients, including disability progression, is unknown.
Once you’re on a treatment plan, your doctor will pay attention to any side effects and other factors to assess how well your particular plan is working. For example:
Keeping track of your symptoms—what you’re feeling and when it occurs—is important information. We’ve tried to make that part a little easier with our
When you take a drug, there are two important terms to know. The first, safety, refers to things that can happen that may present a risk and/or require medical attention—investigation, monitoring, or potential treatment. You might not feel a safety issue at all, so your healthcare provider will test you periodically to monitor for safety concerns.Learning from real-world experience Expand this section
Tolerability is more related to how a drug makes you feel—like if there are uncomfortable side effects. Sometimes people can put up with effects like these to meet their treatment goals. Other times, these effects are unbearable, so a change of treatment may be recommended. And occasionally, a side effect can also be a safety issue, too.
Learning from real-world experience
The FDA approves drugs based on clinical trials that establish them as both effective and safe. Once drugs are widely prescribed, we see how they work across a broader range of patients. Sometimes, adverse reactions not seen in clinical trials are reported after approval.
Pharmaceutical companies have drug safety divisions specifically dedicated to patient safety. They are responsible for identifying, reporting, and following up on any adverse events. Along with the FDA, they continuously monitor a drug's safety profile over the life of the product.
Should important new information be reported, in some cases the Prescribing Information (PI) is updated to ensure the correct and current safety information is available for patients and healthcare providers. It's important that you discuss all your health issues and questions with your healthcare provider before deciding which therapy is right for you.
During the course of your treatment for relapsing MS, your healthcare provider may determine that your current MS treatment is no longer the best choice for you.Some reasons for changing MS treatments Expand this section
Because there isn’t one treatment that works for every person, sometimes people with relapsing MS are prescribed different treatments before finding the one that works for them.
Some reasons for changing MS treatments:
In addition to these factors, it may be helpful to compare data from head-to-head studies.
Have you ever left an appointment and realized you forgot to ask a question or discuss something? Are you overwhelmed by some of the language your healthcare provider uses to discuss your test results or your MS? Here are some ideas to help:Preparing for a visit Expand this section
Feel empowered at your next appointment with your healthcare provider. Use our helpful Doctor Conversation Starter. DOWNLOAD NOW.