The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved more than a dozen medications for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS, which include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease (RRMS) and active secondary progressive disease (SPMS with relapses). Research has shown that all the MS medications can:
- reduce the number of relapses (also called attacks or exacerbations)
- limit new MS activity (new areas of damage called plaques or scars) in the central nervous system (CNS) and seen on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- slow disease worsening (progression)
Years of research suggest that starting one of these medications soon after the diagnosis of MS is the most effective way to manage the MS disease process. These MS medications modify the MS disease course and are also known as disease-modifying treatments (DMT).
Each of the disease-modifying treatments have side effects and risks associated with them. Starting a DMT or switching to a different DMT are decisions best made by the person with MS and his or her MS healthcare provider, after a conversation about how the medication is taken, the side effects, risks and cost.
Read more in The MS Disease-Modifying Medications (.pdf).