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Drugs Used for Treating Multiple Sclerosis

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Introduction to drugs for the treatment of multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (brain) that leads to degeneration of nerves in the brain. There is no cure for multiple sclerosis. Available therapies reduce inflammation, delay the progression of the disease, reduce the frequency and severity of acute attacks, and improve walking. Physical, occupational, speech, and cognitive therapy also are used for improving function.

What are steroids, and which ones are available?

Steroids available for the treatment of MS include:
- Prednisone
- Prednisolone
- Methylprednisolone
- Betamethasone
- Dexamethasone

Steroids are used for treating the acute episodes of inflammation in the brain because of the ability of steroids to suppress inflammation. Since their use is associated with important long-term side effects they are used only for short periods of time. Side effects of steroids include psychosis, bloating, insomnia, headache, bone loss, suppression of the immune system, 'moon' (rounded) face, stomach ulcers, and increases in blood sugar.

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