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Fighting MS

Featuring content from MediResource Inc.

When it comes to fighting MS, knowledge is the key. That's why it's important to stay informed about MS treatment and how to live well with MS. This summary will give you a starting point for your own research.

There's no cure for MS, but there are many different types of MS medications available to treat it, including disease-modifying medications, medications for MS symptoms, and medications to treat relapses. Disease-modifying medications can impact the progression of the disease, while symptom medications relieve symptoms without affecting the underlying disease. Relapse medications are used to bring relapses under control.

Disease-modifying medications include fingolimod (Gilenya®), dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera™), fampridine (FampyraTM), interferon beta-1a (Rebif®, Avonex®), interferon beta-1b (Betaseron®, Extavia®), glatiramer (Copaxone®), and natalizumab (Tysabri®).

  • Fingolimod (Gilenya®) is used to treat relapsing-remitting MS and can reduce the frequency of relapses and slow the progression of disability. It is generally used when other medications haven’t worked or were not tolerated.
  • The interferon beta medications (Rebif®, Avonex®, Betaseron®, Extavia®) are used to treat the relapsing forms of MS (relapsing-remitting MS and secondary progressive MS). They can reduce the number and frequency of relapses and slow the progression of physical disability.
  • Glatiramer (Copaxone®) is used to treat relapsing-remitting MS and can reduce the frequency of relapses.
  • Natalizumab (Tysabri®) is used to treat relapsing-remitting MS and can reduce the frequency of relapses and slow the progression of disability. It is generally used when other medications haven't worked or were not tolerated.
  • Dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera™) is used to treat relapsing-remitting MS and can reduce the frequency of relapses and slow the progression of disability.

Relapses are usually treated with corticosteroid medications such methylprednisolone or prednisone. The steroids are used for a short period of time to reduce the length and severity of the relapse. Steroids may be started intravenously (injected into a vein) in hospital for 3 to 5 days, then switched to pills given by mouth at home for another 1 to 2 weeks.

Because MS can cause a wide range of symptoms including fatigue, bowel or bladder problems, problems with balance and coordination, memory problems, pain, movement problems, or vision problems, there are a variety of medications available to help with these symptoms. Speak to your doctor or MS nurse for more information on medications for the symptoms that are affecting you.

Besides taking medications, there are a number of other steps you can take to live well with MS:

  • Exercise and stretching: In addition to improving your overall health, exercise can help you manage your MS symptoms. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about an exercise program that will work for you.
  • A healthy diet: Eat a balanced diet that's rich in fruits and vegetables, high in fibre, and low in fat. Be suspicious of any diets that are purported to "cure" MS. So far no diet has been convincingly proven to do this. If you think your diet could use an overhaul or aren't sure how to eat a balanced diet, consult a dietitian.
  • Regular medical and dental care: People with MS can benefit from regular medical and dental care to monitor their health and catch problems early.
  • Staying connected: Although MS may affect your life, it's important to stay connected with your friends, family, work, hobbies, and community. This can help you put MS in perspective. You may also find it helpful to form new connections with others affected by MS.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-Coping-with-a-New-Diagnosis