Relapses with severe or disruptive symptoms are generally treated with corticosteroids. This approach accelerates recovery after a relapse. A clear long-term benefit (global recovery after 1 year) is however not demonstrated. The most common administration is intravenous for 3 to 5 days in a polyclinic. Along with preparation and aftercare, a single intravenous treatment lasts about 2 hours. The patient can return home afterwards. The intravenous treatments are normally given before midday to prevent sleeping difficulties.
Patients with relapsing-remitting MS can start immunomodulatory maintenance therapy. It is called immunomodulation because it changes the way the immune system works in crucial places. The specific aim of this treatment is to reduce the risk of future relapses, progression of the disability caused by relapses and the forming of new lesions on the MRI. There is no medication currently available that has been proven to slow down the progressive phase of the disease.
A first-line maintenance therapy can be started in the case of relapsing-remitting MS. The following products within this category are currently available in Belgium: Betaferon®, Avonex®, Plegridy® and Rebif® (interferon ß); Copaxone® (glatiramer acetate); Aubagio® (teriflunomide); and Tecfidera® (dimethyl fumarate/BG-12). These can reduce the risk of new inflammatory activity by 30-50%. Side-effects and precautionary measures vary from product to product.
Second-line treatments can be used when there are multiple severe relapses in a short time or when upsurges continue despite treatment with a first-line product. The following products within this indication are approved in Belgium: Tysabri® (natalizumab), Gilenya® (fingolimod) and Lemtrada® (alemtuzumab). The NMSC is regularly involved in clinical studies around the development of new MS medication.
MS can be linked with chronic complaints such as pain, fatigue, spasticity, bladder problems, depression, cognitive symptoms, etc. The appearance or worsening of these complaints doesn't necessarily mean the disease is evolving negatively. They can however be a big impact on daily life. The NMSC provides various rehabilitation and/or guidance to tackle these problems. Researchers in some articles that are published on one great essay writing help service claim that sometimes a pharmacological approach is used. Good symptomatic medication does not affect the progression of MS itself.