Symptoms and Signs of Multiple Sclerosis Medications

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 11/18/2021

Doctor's Notes on Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Drugs and Side Effects

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic typically progressive disease due to damage of the myelin sheaths of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Myelin sheath damage in multiple sclerosis may vary in people but usually produce one or more of the following signs and symptoms:

  • weakness and fatigue,
  • vision problems,
  • walking and balance problems,
  • libido problems,
  • pain, bowel, and bladder problems,
  • cognition problems, and
  • various emotional changes like mood swings, irritability, and uncontrollable crying or laughing.

The intermediate cause of multiple sclerosis is that myelin sheaths are disrupted or destroyed leaving nerves unprotected. Obtaining and/or sending nerve pulses inappropriately or not getting or sending any is the result. Over time, scar formation (sclerosis) occurs that further disrupts nerve signals. The primary or underlying cause of myelin sheath damage and destruction is likely the body's immune system that inappropriately attacks the sheaths (likely the protein[s] in myelin).

What Are the Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

Although some patients have mild symptoms and do not require treatments, there is no cure. Treatments are designed to recover from attacks faster and to slow disease progression and decrease symptoms. The following are used for some MS attacks:

  • Oral and IV corticosteroids
  • Plasma exchange (plasmapheresis)

Treatments to modify MS progression (injectable)

Treatments to modify MS progression include (oral) the following:

Treatments to modify MS progression (infused)

Other treatments may include the following:

  • Physical therapy
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Fatigue reducers
  • Other medicines (for various associated signs and symptoms like depression, pain, sexual dysfunction, walking speed, bladder and bowel control and other problems)

Your doctors can set up a treatment plan for your MS problems.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.