Multiple Sclerosis Information & Discounts
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Multiple sclerosis or MS is a somewhat mysterious disease that attacks neurons in the brain and throughout the central nervous system. Its causes are still not fully understood and there is still no cure. Its symptoms and effects vary from person to person. MS can be debilitating or it can cause temporary symptoms that may come and go. Treatment for multiple sclerosis depends on the individual and the type of MS. Continue reading to learn more about MS and the types of MS medications and therapies that may be used to decrease the severity of the disease.
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Multiple Sclerosis Information & Discounts
What is multiple sclerosis?
The question of what exactly multiple sclerosis is has not yet been answered. What we do know is that the disease attacks the brain and central nervous system by damaging the insulated covers of neurons called myelin sheaths. This disrupts communication between nerve cells. These sheaths may be repaired several times until finally they are completely irreparable. This process leads to a buildup of scar tissue around these neurons, hence the term sclerosis. These scars or lesions occur throughout white matter rather than grey matter in the brain and spinal cord. White matter involves the communication between cells, not the processing of information. This disease rarely affects the peripheral nervous system. The causes of this disease are not understood and it is speculated that it is an autoimmune disease sparked by a combination of other factors such as genetics, exposure to contaminants, and lifestyle factors. There is currently no multiple sclerosis cure, but there are several multiple sclerosis treatment options.
How can I manage multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is managed in a variety of ways ranging from medications to control the disease, medications to manage symptoms, and diet and lifestyle changes. MS treatments also depend on the pattern of the progression of the disease. There are four types of progression: relapsing remitting, secondary progressive, primary progressive, and progressive relapsing. These types range from the most common to the least common. Relapsing remitting attacks occur randomly and are followed by periods of remission with no signs of activity. These periods may last months or years. The primary progressive pattern occurs in only 10-20% of individuals with MS and is characterized by a steady decline with no remission periods. The last pattern, the least common, is defined by a steady decline with marked periods of attack. Steroids are often used as a treatment for multiple sclerosis exacerbations or relapses while disease modifying treatments (DMTs) are used to alter the pattern of the disease to make it less detrimental or less severe. Medications are also prescribed to manage other symptoms. For more information on multiple sclerosis drugs, see the types of medication section.
Alternative Treatment for MS
The treatment of multiple sclerosis may also involve alternative therapies such as a change in diet, vitamin D supplements acupuncture, medical marijuana, cooling therapies and more. These are not cures for MS but may help some people. Talk to your doctor about what is best for you. Treatment for MS is also comprised of rehabilitation which involves physical therapy for mobility and may also consist of occupational therapy, speech therapy, and cognitive rehabilitation based on the nerve damage caused by the disease. In addition to the information on HelpRx, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has a thorough website that can be provide an array of useful information, including information on multiple sclerosis drugs, to anyone who needs to learn about living with MS.
What are the different types of multiple sclerosis medications?
Disease Modifying Treatment (DMT)
Disease modifying treatment consists of drugs that are made to slow or alter the course of a disease. There are about ten DMTs available that may be prescribed for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Not all of them function in the same way. Some of these drugs work by slowing the effects of the disease and some act as decoys or neuron protectors. Many of these drugs have proven to reduce relapses by about 30%. The most common DMTs are interferons and glatiramer acetate. To read about specific DMTs, see the drug information section.
High doses of intravenous corticosteroids are often used to manage attacks or relapses of MS because they reduce inflammation in the central nervous system which in turn reduces the severity of symptoms. Corticosteroids commonly used as MS drugs for relapses include prednisone and methylprednisolone. See the drug information section for more details.
Medications for Symptom Control
Because MS can produce a variety of symptoms, there are multiple medications used to control them. Antidepressants are commonly prescribed to cope with mood changes while gabapentin and carbamazepine, common anticonvulsants, may be prescribed to manage pain. Provigil and Prozac may be used to treat fatigue. Oxybutynin and imipramine are used to manage bladder control. Still others are prescribed for vertigo and bowel control. Talk to your doctor about all the multiple sclerosis treatment options available for your particular symptoms.
What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?
The symptoms of multiple sclerosis can be sporadic, varied, and unpredictable as symptoms depend on the location of lesions in the central nervous system. The most common symptom is a numbing or tingling sensation, muscle weakness or spasms, and a loss of balance and coordination. Other symptoms include changes in vision, difficulty pronouncing words, loss of bladder control, diarrhea or constipation, pain, paralysis, fatigue, depression, and an unstable mood. Other symptoms that are characteristic of MS include a worsening of symptoms when temperatures are high and an electric sensation that runs down the spine when the neck is bent.
Multiple Sclerosis Drug Information
The first choice treatment for the control of an acute relapse of MS is four day course of an intravenous corticosteroid like Solu-Medrol. This multiple sclerosis medication is given periodically throughout the day to control inflammation and reduce the severity of symptoms caused by relapse. Intravenous treatment may be followed by a course of oral prednisone. To reduce the cost of these medications, use our coupons to get up to 75% off Solu-Medrol or search for generic methylprednisolone coupons.
Copaxone (glatiramer acetate)
Copaxone is a DMT used to reduce the risk of MS relapses. This MS medication is usually injected daily or three times per week for long-term treatment. The way Copaxone works is not fully understood, but it seems to block harmful T-cells that damage myelin protein that makes up the myelin sheaths that protect neurons. This is one of the MS treatments that has been shown to reduce new lesions and reduce the rate of relapse. Unfortunately, Copaxone is an extremely expensive medication, use coupons from HelpRx to reduce the price by up to 93%.
Avonex (interferon beta-1a)
Avonex is another DMT and one of the MS drugs used to reduce relapses. It is an interferon medication. Interferon is a protein naturally produced by the body’s immune system to fight viruses. Avonex has been shown to reduce the number of relapses and reduce the number and size of lesions in the brain. Exactly how Avonex works to reduce the severity of MS is unknown. This medication is injected once per week for four or more weeks to treat MS. This medication is also expensive. Use our free Avonex coupons to reduce the price by up to 84%.