Many medications are used to treat MS, but none of them can claim to cure the disease.
How do they help?
MS medications generally reduce the rate of relapses – some only modestly. Those that are most effective at reducing disease activity come with a more significant side effect profile and the need for close monitoring for complications.
Some MS medications are known as disease modifying drugs (DMDs) or disease modifying therapy (DMT).The term “disease-modifying therapy” means a drug that can modify or change the course of a disease.
For many MS medications, it has been difficult to detect effect on the progression of the disease to disability, although some of the newer drugs do seem to slow the disease course.
See our Research News section for the latest studies.
Long-term studies have shown that diet changes, for example, significantly reduce the rate of MS disease activity and progression to disability. New evidence continues to back a dietary approach to managing MS, as well as the significant roles of vitamin D, exercise and stress reduction.
In the spirit of doing whatever it takes to stay well, many people with MS choose to take medication. This decision is not in in conflict with diet and lifestyle changes and getting adequate sunlight.
We offer some advice and guidance on what to think about when making medication choices. Many people feel anything that may help is worth trying, as long as the side effects aren’t too severe.
Watch this short video:
The following medications are commonly used to treat multiple sclerosis (or have in the past, some have been discontinued).
Read for more information about these medications, which types of MS they treat, their side effects, action, background and relevant studies.
- BG-12 (Dimethyl Fumarate)
- Cyclophosphamide (Endoxan, Cytoxan, Neosar, Procytox, and Revimmune)
- Fingolimod (FTY720 and Gilenya)
- Glatiramer (Copaxone)
- Beta-interferons (Avonex, Rebif and Betaferon or Betaseron)
- Low-Dose Naltrexone
- Mitoxantrone (also called Novantrone)
- Natalizumab (Tysabri)
- Teriflunomide (Aubagio)
- Daclizumab (Zinbryta)
- Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada)
- Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus)
- Cladribine (Mavenclad)