Treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS) have come a long way in recent decades. Generally, MS treatments fall under two main categories, treatments to address the symptoms of MS, and treatments to reduce the risk of relapses and disease progression.
Treatments to address the symptoms of MS
Treating symptoms of MS is not all about taking medications. Treatment can also take the form of exercise, diet, counselling, living and mobility aids and many more strategies.
Treatments to reduce the risk of relapses and disease progression
Disease modifying therapies (DMTs) are medications which have been shown to decrease the inflammation, frequency and severity of MS attacks or relapses. They slow the progression of disability in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).
Currently DMTs are only available for treating RRMS; clinical trials are currently testing therapies for the treatment of progressive MS.
There are also a number of new therapies in the pipeline and we recommend you discuss treatments with your neurologist.
Before you begin a new treatment, your neurologist will explain the pros and cons of the treatment and the possible side effects. It is important to communicate clearly with your neurologist. The feedback you provide can be invaluable. By monitoring and noting your response to treatments you can help your neurologist determine the best choices for your treatment.
Treatment during pregnancy and breast feeding
There is very little research evidence as to the safety of using DMTs during pregnancy and breast feeding.
For this reason, some treatments are generally suspended during this time; however, your neurologist will discuss both contraception and family planning with you and whether your treatment is safe during pregnancy.
The MSWA nursing team has up to date information and extensive experience with all of these treatments. Our MS nurse can provide training, support and side effect management advice, for all of the DMTs currently available.