There are more treatment options than ever before for patients with multiple sclerosis.
Patients with MS are often cared for by a neurologist and one or more other physicians or therapists as well. Neurologists often note that these healthcare providers can become overwhelmed by the availability of so many treatment options and worried about whether their patient is receiving optimal therapy.
MS TREATMENT OPTIONS
Interferon beta-1b (Betaseron, Extavia). The first drug that was approved for treatment of MS, interferon beta-1b is an injectable medication. This medication reduces inflammation in the central nervous system. The most common side effects include injection site reactions and GI symptoms, such as stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhea.
Interferon beta-1a (Avonex, Rebif). An injectable medication, interferon beta-1a reduces inflammation, possibly through the reduction of T cell production and also reduction of inflammatory cells in the CNS. Like interferon beta- 1b, it is believed to prevent the crossing of inflammatory cells through the blood brain barrier. The most common side effects include injection site reactions and fevers.
Peginterferon beta-1a (Plegridy). Similar to interferon, this injectable is believed to have an extended duration. The most common side effects include injection site reactions, fevers. and joint pain.
Glatiramer acetate (Copaxone, Glatopa). This immunomodulator is used to prevent relapses, is injected subcutaneously. The most common side effects include injection site reactions, fevers, double vision, weakness, and swelling of the hands or feet.
Daclizumab (Zinbryta). This subcutaneously injected medication is believed to reduce T cells. The suggested mechanism is through binding to the IL- 2 T cell receptors. The most common side effects include upper respiratory tract infection and skin rash.
Dimethyl Fumarate (Tecfidera). This oral medication works as an anti-inflammatory by blocking cytokine induction. The most common side effects include flushing, rash, and GI symptoms.
Fingolimod (Gilenya). This oral medication is believed to lower the number of lymphocytes in the blood by binding to T cells. The most common side effects include headaches and flu-like symptoms. This medication may cause some patients to have abnormal liver tests.