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Multiple Sclerosis (cont.)

Tecfidera, Lemtrada, Ampyra, and Other Medications

  • Dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera) is the third oral medication approved by the FDA to treat multiple sclerosis. It is used for relapsing MS, and its action is by activating the Nrf2 antioxidant response pathway, a cellular signaling system that helps protect cells from oxidative stress. Because it can also reduce the number of white blood cells, it is recommended that blood counts be measured prior to starting treatment with this drug.
  • Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) is a monoclonal antibody directed against CD52, a molecule that is present on some immune cells. It is approved for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, but because of autoimmune side effects, it is only recommended when two or more other drugs have failed to produce an adequate response.
  • Dalfampridine (Ampyra) is a potassium-blocking drug that has been approved as a treatment to improve walking in patients with multiple sclerosis.
  • Other drugs: Several drugs that suppress the immune system and are used to treat cancer have also been used to treat multiple sclerosis, but they may make people with multiple sclerosis very ill, especially if not used with caution. Mitoxantrone (Novantrone) is a chemotherapy agent that has been approved by the FDA to treat multiple sclerosis. Treatment with mitoxantrone requires monitoring of cardiac function, and there is a fixed limit to the dose that can be administered to patients. It also carries the long-term risk of leukemia. For these reasons, Novantrone is typically reserved for patients with more aggressive forms of multiple sclerosis.

New research and treatment methods are currently being investigated and are expected to offer some hope to people with multiple sclerosis. In particular, new research studies have shown that skin patches containing myelin peptides may be a promising therapy.

Drugs Therapies for Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

In addition to drugs that target the disease process, other medications may be given to help relieve certain symptoms of MS.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/30/2017

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Multiple Sclerosis »

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS).

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