Should I take medication for multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Medications are available to slow the course of multiple sclerosis (MS). These medications are called disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) or disease-modifying drugs (DMDs) because they slow the progression of multiple sclerosis. These medications have all been proven to benefit multiple sclerosis patients in well-designed large studies.

Some patients wait to see if they will become more disabled before using DMTs. However, these drugs do not reverse damage; they decrease future damage. Our advice is to start DMTs before more damage occurs.

There is some evidence that patients using DMTs early in the disease leads to a better response than those treated later in the disease. There are even studies indicating benefit in patients using these drugs after their first attack, before the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis can technically be made (the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis requires at least two attacks). This first attack is called clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), and several of the medications are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for use in CIS.

Although there are side effects, none of the side effects are medically serious.

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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.