FAQs about CIS - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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Frequently Asked Questions about CIS

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Is CIS genetic/inherited?

No, CIS, like MS is not directly inherited. Studies do indicate that genetic factors have a slight association with conversion of CIS to MS.
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Is CIS contagious?

No. CIS, like MS, is not contagious.
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How is CIS different from MS?

CIS and MS appear the same based on clinical symptoms. The main differences between CIS and MS are the number of episodes or attacks a person experiences and/or the presence or absence of MRI findings that are suggestive of MS. In both CIS and MS, damage to the myelin sheath (demyelination) interferes with the way nerve impulses are carried from the brain, resulting in neurologic symptoms.   A person with CIS, by definition, experiences only one attack; a person with MS has more than one attack. With CIS, an MRI may demonstrate damage only in the area responsible for the current symptoms; with MS, there may be multiple brain lesions demonstrated on MRI. A person with CIS may or may not go on to develop MS.
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What are the treatments for CIS?

Many episodes of CIS are mild and resolve without treatment. In other cases, treatment with high dose oral or intravenous methylprednisolone (a steroid) is typically recommended.

An MS disease-modifying therapy is often recommended for people diagnosed with a CIS that is considered more likely to progress to clinically-definitely multiple sclerosis (CDMS), with the goal of delaying a second attack.

To learn about four large-scale clinical trials that have been conducted to determine whether early treatment following a CIS can delay the second clinical event, and therefore the diagnosis of clinically definite MS click on the following link:

Treatments for CIS

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