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What is secondary-progressive MS (multiple sclerosis)?

Secondary-progressive MS is one of four forms of the disease. In secondary-progressive MS, patients may first experience periods in which their symptoms seem to appear and then go away. However, eventually, the symptoms of the disease progress more regularly.

Secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) is a disease course following relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Most cases of multiple sclerosis (MS) begin as RRMS, with episodes of relapses intermixed with times of normal function. It's estimated that 85 percent of these patients will eventually progress to SPMS, which means that there will be a more steady progression of the disease and its symptoms, rather than periods of worsening and improvement as in RRMS.

Secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) initially begins with a relapsing-remitting course (characterized by clearly defined acute attacks) that later becomes consistently progressive at a variable rate. The course of the disease may continue to include occasional relapses and minor remissions. Individuals with SPMS accumulate deficits from which they do not recover completely. Permanent and slowly progressive gait problems often herald the onset of SPMS.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.