Treating multiple sclerosis
Although there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, there are several medications which have been shown to slow the progression of the disease.
There are also other medications that can be used to manage chronic symptoms (those that last longer than three months) and acute symptoms (those that last less than three months).
It’s best to consult your neurologist or doctor about what medical treatments and self-management strategies might be most suitable for you.
Some of the medications available include:
Medications to slow the progression of the disease
Medications to treat the symptoms caused by a relapse
- Disease modifying therapies, sometimes known as immunotherapies, are used to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. These medications work to reduce disease activity, so the myelin around the nerves is subjected to less damage.
- Immune suppression therapies such as methotrexate or mitozantrone are sometimes used, especially for people with very active multiple sclerosis. These medications work by inhibiting the activity of the immune system.
Treatments in development
- Methylprednisolone is a steroid medication used to minimise the severity of a multiple sclerosis relapse by easing inflammation in the affected area.
- A large number of new therapies to treat multiple sclerosis are being trialled. Contact your neurologist for more information about new treatment options and whether you might be eligible to participate in trials.
Multiple sclerosis medication update
Recorded 11 May 2016
Webinar handouts: Multiple sclerosis medication update
Treatment for specific symptoms
- Muscle problems: a combination of medication may ease muscle problems, including stiffness and tremors. Physiotherapy is also recommended.
- Fatigue: some studies have found that medication used to treat the sleep disorder narcolepsy is helpful in controlling multiple sclerosis-related fatigue.
- Neurological symptoms: visual disturbances can be helped with medication, including steroids.
- Continence: treatment for continence problems may include special exercises, medications, continence aids (such as disposable pads) and certain dietary changes.
- Neuropsychological problems: treatment for depression or anxiety may include counselling or medication; memory problems and other cognitive difficulties can be better managed with professional help from a neuropsychologist.
You can learn more about management strategies for specific symptoms by reading our guide to common symptoms, complications, assessment and treatment.
Our MS nurse discusses new medications available for treating multiple sclerosis.
Our MS Nurses can provide detailed information about medications and discuss what's important in your personal decision making process. Contact MS Connect™ (Freecall 1800 042 138 or email email@example.com) to be put through to our MS nurse on call.
You can also get more detailed information from our treatment information sheets.