Approved Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis


There is no cure for multiple sclerosis (MS) yet, but a number of treatment options, particularly for the relapsing-remitting form of the disease, have been approved to help manage symptoms and slow progression. There are two basic treatment approaches to treating MS: immunomodulation therapies, which can control the inflammation of myelin sheaths and help restore the central nervous system, and supportive therapies, which can help manage symptoms and exacerbations to help patients lead as normal a life as possible.

Learn more about some of the approved treatments used to treat MS and its symptoms below.

Acthar Gel

Acthar Gel (repository corticotropin injection) is an injectable therapy used to manage acute relapses in MS. The treatment is usually considered for MS patients who have had inadequate responses, or cannot tolerate, corticosteroids.

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Ampyra is an oral medication used to improve walking ability in people with MS. The treatment’s mechanism of action is not completely understood, but the medication is known to block the activity of potassium channels, thus improving the conduction of electrical signals in damaged neurons.

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Aubagio (teriflunomide) is an active metabolite of the compound leflunomide and is a pyrimidine synthesis inhibitor. It is an oral formulation that has immunomodulatory properties, which can mitigate the rate and extent of damage caused to nerve fibers in neurodegenerative conditions like MS.

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Avonex (interferon beta-1a) is an injectable medication approved for patients with relapsing forms of MS who have had a first attack and show lesions on an MRI. Administered by injection into the muscle, it is designed to help reduce the number of flare-ups and MS disease progression.

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Bafiertam (monomethyl fumarate) is a disease-modifying therapy for relapsing forms of MS. While the exact mechanism of action of Bafiertam is not fully known, the medication’s active ingredient, monomethyl fumarate (MMF), is broadly thought to reduce the inflammation that drives MS.

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Betaseron (interferon beta 1b) is an anti-inflammatory therapy indicated for patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Similar to other interferon beta 1b formulations, Betaseron reduces inflammation in the nervous system.

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Copaxone (glatiramer acetate injection) is a disease-modifying therapy approved for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS, including CIS, relapsing-remitting MS, and active secondary progressive MS. The generic form is Glatopa.

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Cortrophin Gel

Cortrophin Gel (repository corticotropin injection) is an injectable therapy approved to treat acute relapses. Cortrophin Gel’s mechanism of action is not fully known, but it is thought to work mainly by increasing cortisol levels, thus reducing the inflammatory autoimmune attack that drives MS exacerbations.

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Dysport (abobotulinumtoxinA) has been approved to treat upper and lower limb spasticity in adults (a common symptom of MS) and is currently being studied as a treatment for overactive bladder in MS patients. It is administered as an injection directly into the muscle.

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Extavia (interferon beta 1b) is a subcutaneous therapy intended to reduce the number of exacerbations in patients with relapsing-remitting MS. It is also prescribed for people with a single clinical episode related to MS, consistent with MRI results.

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Gilenya (fingolimod) is an oral disease-modifying therapy indicated for patients with relapsing forms of MS, including clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting MS, and active secondary progressive MS. It works by modulating the immune response to reduce disease exacerbations, delaying progression and accumulation of disability.

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Glucocorticoids are hormones often used in the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders due to their powerful anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties. In MS, they are useful for managing acute disease exacerbations or relapses — periods when symptoms suddenly get worse.

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Kesimpta (ofatumumab) is approved to treat adults with relapsing forms of MS. It is the first MS therapy targeting B-cells that can be self-administered at home. The treatment is given once per month via under-the-skin injection using an autoinjector pen called the Sensoready Pen.

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Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) is a disease-modifying treatment designed to slow down the progression of relapsing-remitting MS. It is intended to lower the relapse rate and treat the symptoms of MS. Its use is recommended in patients who have had an inadequate response to two or more MS therapies.

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Mavenclad (cladribine) is a disease-modifying and short-course oral tablet treatment for people with active and relapsing forms of MS. The treatment is typically recommended for patients who failed to respond to, or were unable to tolerate, other MS therapies.

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Mayzent (siponimod) is an oral treatment used to treat relapsing forms of MS, including active secondary progressive MS. It works by binding to the sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptors on the outside of immune cells, blocking their normal action. Mayzent keeps the immune cells trapped in the lymph nodes, slowing disease progression.

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Mitoxantrone hydrochloride is an infusion medication used to slow disability progression and decrease the risk of relapses in people with relapsing forms of MS. It also is approved for nonactive SPMS. Originally sold under the brand name Novantrone, the therapy is available only as a generic medication.

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Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) is a humanized monoclonal antibody developed to treat MS. It is the first therapy approved in both the U.S. and Europe to treat both relapsing forms of MS and primary progressive MS, the latter of which had no approved treatments previously in the U.S. or the EU.

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Plegridy (peginterferon beta-1a) is approved to treat relapsing forms of MS. It is a “pegylated” form of interferon beta-1a that allows for less frequent dosing.  It is an injectable formulation, administered under the skin once every two weeks.

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PoNS Device

The Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator, or PoNS, is an approved noninvasive medical device used in combination with physical rehabilitation to reduce MS-associated walking problems. The electrical signals delivered through the device are thought to create a natural flow of stimuli from the tongue to the brain, promoting neuroplasticity.

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Ponvory (ponesimod) is a sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 (S1P1) immunomodulator approved in the U.S. and EU for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS. It is a once-daily oral therapy. Beginning treatment may result in a decrease in heart rate, so first-dose monitoring is recommended in patients with certain preexisting cardiac conditions.

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Rebif (interferon beta-1a) is an under-the-skin injection therapy indicated for relapsing forms of MS. It is designed to reduce the frequency of disease exacerbations and delays the accumulation of physical disability caused by these flares.

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Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) is an oral formulation approved for relapsing forms of MS. Several generic forms of dimethyl fumarate also have been approved in the U.S. Tecfidera is an immunomodulatory therapy that has been shown to reduce relapse rates and delay progression.

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Tysabri (natalizumab) is an antibody-based therapy approved to treat adults with relapsing forms of MS. It can be administered by intravenous or subcutaneous injection at a dosage of 300 mg every four weeks, but it is only approved in the intravenous formulation in the U.S.

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Vumerity (diroximel fumarate) is an oral treatment approved for people with relapsing forms of MS. It is available as delayed-release capsules. Vumerity is made of a small molecule called diroximel fumarate, which is an inactive prodrug that is converted into its active form, monomethyl fumarate, inside the body.

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Zeposia (ozanimod) is a treatment developed to treat adults with relapsing forms of MS. The treatment comes in 0.92 mg capsules that patients take by mouth once a day. Zeposia belongs to a class of medications known as selective sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1PR1) and 5 (S1PR5) receptor modulators.

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