Updated: Feb 25
When it comes MS, there are many treatment options. This is good, but it can be overwhelming, especially for a new patient. Treatments range from a variety of medications to infusions to various kinds of mental and physical health therapies. The hope is to slow the progression of the disease and increase function in patients.
Every patient is different and you may have to try a variety of drugs or treatments before finding one that works for you. Be sure to speak with your doctor about all the options. There is a lot of hope for the future for patients with MS.
Healthline.com reports on some of the latest treatments and medicines available here:
Gilenya (fingolimod) Reports show that it may reduce relapses by half and slow the progression of the disease.
Teriflunomide (Aubagio) A main goal of MS treatment is to slow down the progression of the disease. Drugs that do this are called disease-modifying medications. One such medication is the oral drug teriflunomide (Aubagio). It was approved for use in people with MS in 2012. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that people with relapsing MS who took teriflunomide once a day showed significantly slower disease progression rates and fewer relapses than those who took a placebo. People given the higher dose of teriflunomide (14 mg vs. 7 mg) experienced decreased disease progression. Teriflunomide was only the second oral disease-modifying medication approved for MS treatment.
Dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera) A third oral disease-modifying drug became available to people with MS in March of 2013. Dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera) was formerly known as BG-12. It stops the immune system from attacking itself and destroying myelin. It may also have a protective effect on the body, similar to the effect that antioxidants have. The medication is available in capsule form. Dimethyl fumarate is designed for people who have relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). RRMS is a form of the disease in which a person typically goes into remission for a period of time before their symptoms worsen. People with this type of MS can benefit from twice-daily doses of this medication.
Dalfampridine (Ampyra) MS-induced myelin destruction affects the way nerves send and receive signals. This can affect movement and mobility. Potassium channels are like pores on the surface of nerve fibers. Blocking the channels can improve the nerve conduction in affected nerves. Dalfampridine (Ampyra) is a potassium channel blocker. Studies published in The LancetTrusted Source found that dalfampridine (formerly called fampridine) increased walking speed in people with MS. The original study tested walking speed during a 25-foot walk. It didn’t show dalfampridine to be beneficial. However, post-study analysis revealed that participants showed increased walking speed during a six-minute test when taking 10 mg of the medication daily. Participants who experienced increased walking speed also demonstrated improved leg muscle strength.