- Numbness or tingling in the face, body or arms and legs
- Muscle weakness
- Pain (50% of patients experience chronic pain)
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Vision problems
- Bladder problems
- Bowel problems
- Sexual problems
- Cognitive changes
- Emotional changes (including depression)
There are several medications on the market that are called Disease-Modifying Drugs. These drugs can help manage the disease by suppressing the immune system so it doesn’t attack the myelin, and slows the progression and prevent relapses.
The following U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved disease-modifying agents reduce disease activity and disease progression for many people with relapsing forms of MS, including relapsing-remitting MS, as well as secondary-progressive and progressive-relapsing MS in those people who continue to have relapses.
- Injectable medications
- Avonex (interferon beta-1a)
- Betaseron (interferon beta-1b)
- Copaxone (glatiramer acetate)
- Extavia (interferon beta-1b)
- Glatopa (glatiramer acetate — generic equivalent of Copaxone 20mg dose)
- Plegridy (peginterferon beta-1a)
- Rebif (interferon beta-1a)
- Oral medications
- Aubagio (teriflunomide)
- Gilenya (fingolimod)
- Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate)
- Infused medications
- Lemtrada (alemtuzumab)
- Novantrone (mitoxantrone)
- Tysabri (natalizumab)
Interferon drugs and Copaxone (both protein drugs) are considered to be very safe. These work by preventing the immune system from attacking the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. While not a cure, they can decrease flare-ups and delay (and possibly prevent) disability.
Due to the nerve damage in the central nervous system, there are many other problems that can occur as a result of the disease. These medications can treat the following symptoms:
- Muscle stiffness and spasms: muscle relaxants such as tizanidine(Zanaflex) and baclofen (Lioresal), or sedatives like diazepam(Valium) and clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Fatigue: amantadine (Symmetrel), modafinil (Provogil), armodafinil (Nuvigil), and methylphenidate (Ritalin)
- Depression: antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline(Zoloft), and bupropion (Wellbutrin)
- Bladder problems: oxybutynin (Ditropan) or tolterodine (Detrol)
By working closely with your doctor, you will find the treatments that work best for you. For questions about your medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Physical therapy can also help many patients. Learning specific exercises, strengthening exercises, aquatic therapy and yoga, specifically designed for the patient, can help meet their needs. If the patient has lost some physical ability, a cane, walker, or other assistive device can make it easier to get around.
The Wilmington Walk MS will be held on April 30 at 10 a.m. (check-in at 9:00) to raise awareness and funds for a cure for multiple sclerosis. The 4-mile walk will be around Greenfield Lake. The event is free, but donations are welcome!