Multiple Sclerosis Treatment
Once goals have been set, initial therapy may include medications to manage attacks, symptoms, or both. An understanding of the potential side effects of drugs is critical for the patient because sometimes side effects alone deter patients from drug therapy. Patients may choose to avoid drugs altogether or choose an alternative drug that may offer relief with fewer side effects. A continuous dialogue between the patient and physician about the medications is important in determining the needs for treatment.
Drugs known to affect the immune system have become the primary focus for managing multiple sclerosis. Initially, corticosteroids, such as prednisone (Deltasone, Liquid Pred, Orasone, Prednicen-M) or methylprednisolone (Medrol, Depo-Medrol), were widely used. However, since their effect on the immune system is non-specific (general) and they may cause numerous side effects, corticosteroids now tend to be used to manage only severe multiple sclerosis attacks (that is, attacks leading to physical disability or causing pain).