Multiple sclerosis, also called MS, is a disease that can affect the brain, spinal cord, and nerves to the eyes. MS can cause problems with muscle control and strength, vision, balance, feeling, and thinking. Whatever your symptoms are, taking medicine correctly and following your doctor’s advice for home care can help you maintain your quality of life.
Early symptoms of MS can affect your muscles, vision, sensation, and balance. For example, you may feel dizzy, have blurred vision, or feel tingling. Symptoms vary from person to person. As MS progresses, symptoms may become more severe and include bladder problems and trouble thinking.
Medicines for MS may be used:
- During a relapse. They can make the attack shorter and less severe.
- Over a long period of time, to alter the natural course of the disease. Medicines that do this are called disease-modifying drugs or DMDs.
- To control specific symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle stiffness.
For people who have relapsing-remitting MS, DMDs can reduce the number and severity of relapses. They may also delay disability in some people.
Some of these medicines may also delay disease progression and reduce relapses in some people who have primary progressive MS or secondary progressive MS.
The most commonly used DMDs are:
- Interferon beta (such as Betaseron). It's used to treat a first MS attack, relapsing-remitting MS, and secondary progressive MS.
- Glatiramer (Copaxone). It's used to treat a first MS attack and relapsing-remitting MS.