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Medications are used in multiple sclerosis (MS) to modify the disease course, treat relapses — also called attacks or exacerbations — and manage symptoms. Along with the other essential components of comprehensive MS care, these medications help people manage their MS and enhance their comfort and quality of life. 

Modifying the disease course

The following US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved disease modifying therapies for MS have been found through clinical trials to reduce the number of relapses, delay progression of disability, and limit new disease activity (as seen on MRI).

Following the treatment plan that you and your healthcare provider have established is the best possible strategy for managing your MS:

Under certain circumstances, some healthcare providers may use medications to treat MS that have FDA approval for other diseases -- also called "off-label" use. Over the past few decades, several medications have been used off-label in MS.

Managing relapses

MS relapses are caused by inflammation in the central nervous system that damages the myelin coating around nerve fibers. This damage slows or disrupts the transmission of nerve impulses and causes the symptoms of MS. Most relapses will gradually resolve without treatment.

For severe relapses (involving loss of vision, severe weakness or poor balance, for example), which interfere with a person’s mobility, safety or overall ability to function, your healthcare provider may recommend treatment with high dose oral or intravenous corticosteroids. Corticosteroids do not have any long-term benefit on the disease.

Medication options include:

Managing symptoms

A wide variety of medications are used to help manage the symptoms of MS. Below are common symptoms of MS and the medications used to treat those symptoms.

Bladder Problems



Bowel Dysfunction


Dizziness and Vertigo

Emotional Changes

  • Nuedexta (dextromethorphan + quinidine)




Sexual Problems



Walking (Gait) Difficulties

Additional resources


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