What Are the Treatment Options for Multiple Sclerosis?


Quick Answer

Treatment methods for multiple sclerosis include plasma exchange, physical therapy and certain medications such as corticosteroids, as stated by Mayo Clinic. Multiple sclerosis has no cure as of 2015, so treatment methods focus on hastening recovery from attacks, managing symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease.

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What Are the Treatment Options for Multiple Sclerosis?
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Full Answer

Corticosteroids, such as intravenous methylprednisolone and oral prednisone, are known to reduce nerve inflammation during attacks, and plasma exchange may be used if the patient doesn't respond to steroids, according to Mayo Clinic. Although no treatment has been proven effective for primary progressive multiple sclerosis, certain medications may reduce the relapse rate and the rate of lesion formation in patients with the relapsing-remitting variety. These medications include glatiramer acetate, beta interferons, fingolimod, dimethyl fumarate, natalizumab, teriflunomide and mitoxantrone. Some of these medications are associated with severe side effects, and teriflunomide is harmful to fetuses. Mitoxantrone is a potentially harmful immunosuppressant that is only used in severe cases of multiple sclerosis.

Physical therapy may include strengthening and stretching exercises to help patients more easily perform daily tasks, and muscle relaxants may be used to help control irritating stiffness and muscle spasms, notes Mayo Clinic. Doctors may also prescribe treatments to reduce fatigue or address associated conditions, such as depression, bladder control problems and pain.

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