Brain Disease : Multiple Sclerosis : Treatment

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).

Treatments
There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis as of now. However, there are therapies that may slow the disease. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms and help the patient maintain a normal quality of life.

Medications used to slow the progression of multiple sclerosis are taken on a long-term basis, they include:

  • Interferons (Avonex, Betaseron, or Rebif), glatiramer acetate (Copaxone),mitoxantrone (Novantrone), and natalizumab (Tysabri) are approved for treating MS
  • Methotrexate, azathioprine (Imuran), intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) may also be used if the above drugs are not working well

Steroids may be used to decrease the severity of attacks.

Medications to control symptoms may include:

  • Medicines to reduce muscle spasms such as Lioresal (Baclofen),tizanidine (Zanaflex), or a benzodiazepine
  • Cholinergic medications to reduce urinary problems
  • Antidepressants for mood or behavior symptoms
  • Amantadine for fatigue

The following may help MS patients:

  • Physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and support groups
  • Assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, bed lifts, shower chairs, walkers, and wall bars
  • A planned exercise program early in the course of the disorder
  • A healthy lifestyle, with good nutrition and enough rest and relaxation
  • Avoiding fatigue, stress, temperature extremes, and illness

Complications

  • Depression
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Less and less ability to care for self
  • Need for indwelling catheter
  • Osteoporosis or thinning of the bones
  • Pressure sores
  • Side effects of medications used to treat the disorder
  • Urinary tract infections

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