Three Best Multiple Sclerosis Treatments
Multiple Sclerosis is a debilitating disease that damages the brain and spinal cord over time. Also known as MS, this chronic disease is marked by relapses and flare ups as the immune system attacks itself. In spite of years of research, it is unknown why the body tries to get rid of the myelin sheaths that cover and protect the nerves of the central nervous system. Once these protective covers are destroyed, the spinal cord, brain, and optic nerve experience damage that cannot be reversed. Scar tissue forms and nerve signals are disrupted. While researchers continue to find ways to prevent and cure MS, there are many current medications that help slow progression of this disease and provide relief from the associated symptoms. These traditional medications include corticosteroids like Deltasone and Solu-Medrol, interferons such as Rebif, Avonex, and Gilenya, and medications that slow the progression of the MS, such as Lemtrada and Tecfidera.
Deltasone and Solu-Medrol are popular corticosteroids that have been proven effective in controlling the symptoms of MS in a large number of patients. These medications reduce the inflammation in the nervous, providing relief from pain and discomfort associated with Multiple Sclerosis. Deltasone is taken orally, while Solu-Medrol is taken intravenously over specific periods of time depending on each patient’s needs. The sooner patients can receive these treatments, the better their chances are of experiencing relief. However, efforts at managing symptoms aren’t always effective, and patients may need to wait for MS attacks to run their courses before their symptoms begin to recede.
Patients who live with Multiple Sclerosis have found that consistent interferon treatments can help manage the flare-ups that occur unpredictably with this disease. Interferons like Avonex, Betaseron, Rebif, Plegridy, or Extavia have been used safely and effectively by hundreds of thousands of patients. These medications are given by injection, and have proven to be effective with very few side effects. Tysabri is another option for patients who do not respond well to interferons. Made of monoclonal antibodies, this medication is administered through an IV and help protect healthy cells from damage.
MS patients who do not receive relief from using corticosteroids or interferons may be able to take advantage of two powerful drugs called Lemtrada and Tecfidera. Approved by the FDA in November 2014, Lemtrada is given through infusions over the course of four hour sessions. This medication requires sustained and careful monitoring by a team of healthcare professionals. During the first course of the medication, treatments need to be completed over a series of consecutive days. The second course is completed one year later. Tecfidera was approved by the FDA in 2013, and has shown to be significantly effective, reducing relapse rates by as much as 51 percent. The most common side effects of both medications include headache, rash, nasal congestion, fever, fatigue, insomnia, and soreness of the throat and mouth. Regardless of which medications are used, doctors and MS patients need to weigh the risks and benefits