Medical Treatment for MS

Approximately 400,000 Americans suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease in which the protective covering of your nerve cells slowly degenerates. Although there is no cure for MS, doctors rely on a variety of treatments to control the symptoms.

  1. Identification

    • Common medical treatment for MS includes prescription medications, physical or occupational therapy and plasma exchange procedures. The type of treatment or the combination of treatments that doctors suggest depends on the severity of your symptoms and your response to treatment.

    Types of Medications

    • Oral and intravenous corticosteroids that relieve inflammation and reduce the frequency of symptoms are the most common drug treatments, according to the Mayo Clinic. Other medications used to slow the progression of the disease include interferons, glatiramer, natalizumab and mitoxantrone.

    Benefits of Therapy

    • Physical and occupational therapy provide stretching and strengthening exercises that help keep your muscles limber and improve your coordination and balance. A licensed therapist can also teach you to use assistance devices such as canes or walkers to help increase your mobility.

    Features of Plasma Exchange

    • For severe MS symptoms, doctors sometimes prescribe plasma exchange, a procedure in which a pump separates your plasma from your blood cells and is replaced with a solution. Plasma exchange removes some of the antibodies that attack your nerve cells, providing relief when a symptom flare-up occurs, explains the Mayo Clinic.

    Considerations

    • If you have only mild symptoms, your doctor may simply monitor your situation and wait to prescribe treatment.

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