If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis), then you are already aware of how ravaging this disease can be. However, there is a lot about the disease that you may not be aware of. If you suffer from multiple sclerosis, or watch others suffer, you see what happens to the person’s body, but what you don’t see is what the disease is doing inside the body.
There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis at this time. However, there are therapies that may slow the disease. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms and help you maintain a normal quality of life.
Medications used to slow the progression of multiple sclerosis are taken on a long-term basis, they include:
· Interferons (Avonex, Betaseron, or Rebif), glatiramer acetate (Copaxone), mitoxantrone (Novantrone), and natalizumab (Tysabri)
· Fingolimod (Gilenya )
· Methotrexate, azathioprine (Imuran), intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) may also be used if the above drugs are not working well
Steroids may be used to decrease the severity of attacks.
Medications to control symptoms may include:
· Medicines to reduce muscle spasms such as Lioresal (Baclofen), tizanidine (Zanaflex), or a benzodiazepine
· Cholinergic medications to reduce urinary problems
· Antidepressants for mood or behavior symptoms
· Amantadine for fatigue
The following may also be helpful for people with MS:
· Physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and support groups
· Assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, bed lifts, shower chairs, walkers, and wall bars
· A planned exercise program early in the course of the disorder
· A healthy lifestyle, with good nutrition and enough rest and relaxation
· Avoiding fatigue, stress, temperature extremes, and illness
· Changes in what you eat or drink if there are swallowing problems
· Making changes around the home to prevent falls
· Social workers or other counseling services to help you cope with the disorder and get assistance (such as Meals-on-Wheels)