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Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis

- 12 November 2008, 07:11

Multiple Sclerosis is an auto-immune disease that affects the central nervous system of its victims, sometimes leaving them with impairment in their mobility, cognitive function, memory, writing ability or speech.  In some rare types of the disease, such as the Marburg Variant, it can prove fatal.   An autoimmune disease is one in which the immune system mistakenly begins to attack the very body it’s designed to protect.

At this point in time there is no cure for MS.  The best that the medical community can do is attempt to ameliorate the symptoms and residual effects of the disease after attacks, or relapses suffered by its patients.

Because the path of MS is different for each person, its treatment is variable and dictated by the specific symptoms and type of MS.  Not two patients are alike, and therefore there is no ‘standard’ of treatment to be followed by one and all.

There are medications that are used to relieve symptoms of the disease or modify its course over time. The medications of choice at this time are

•Avonex
•Betaseron
•Copaxone
•Rebif
•Novantrone
•Tysabri

These drugs can reduce the severity of relapses, also called exacerbations, which are defined by a sudden worsening of an MS symptom.  A flare can also be the appearance of a new symptom, which lasts 24 hours at least and is separated from a previous flare up by at least thirty days.

These drugs are also able to reduce the damaged or active diseased areas, called lesions, in the brain or spinal cord. An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) will show how far the disease has spread and whether or not these drugs are helping reduce the lesions. One of the great benefits of these medications is that they appear to slow down the accumulation of disabilities in an MS sufferer.

Although these drugs have been shown to be beneficial in altering the course of MS, they do not come without some serious side effects, which should be discussed at length with your doctor and treatment team.

Although there is no cure for MS, patients can improve their overall health by staying active, following the advice of their doctors, as well as educating themselves on the latest treatments available.


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