Need Help Choosing the Right Medication to Treat Your MS?

This digital resource can help MS patients make informed decisions

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by Ed Tobias |

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It’s not easy choosing a multiple sclerosis (MS) medication.

There are shots and pills and intravenous infusions. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society lists more than 20 disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) on its website. Some, such as Lemtrada (alemtuzumab), Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), and Tysabri (natalizumab), have proven to be effective at slowing the progression of MS. Others, less so. All DMTs have potential side effects, some more than others.

So how do you know which MS treatment is best for you?

Too many neurologists don’t help enough

The selection process isn’t made any easier by some neurologists who think that all they need to do is give their patient the names of two or three medications — sometimes they’ll even give them a pamphlet! — and tell them to make a choice, without an explanation of why they offered those three out of all the others. They sometimes won’t ask the patient whether they can handle a weekly shot or a monthly infusion. There is no risk-versus-benefit discussion. Off they send these patients to the dangerous “Dr. Internet” to do research and make a decision. That’s not in the best interest of the person with MS.

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Help is now a few clicks away

But now there’s a website that I would trust to help make that DMT decision. Yes, it’s on the internet, but the site is run by the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA), a well-respected MS organization. The MSAA calls its decision tool the Ultimate MS Treatment Guide. On it you’ll find a listing of 19 DMTs that have been approved for use in the U.S. Click on the name of any one of them and you’re taken to a page with details about that medication. This includes how it works, its potential benefits and possible side effects, when it was approved, who makes it, and even the lab tests that may be required before and after you start using it.

You can sort DMTs by type: shots, pills, or infusions. You can sort by the type of MS each is approved for. You can sort by name or the date each DMT was approved. (How many people with MS are being treated with DMTs that are over 20 years old?) You can also compare one treatment with another by clicking a little box next to each drug, just like comparing models on a car maker’s website.

The guide also includes information about the two MS treatment philosophies: escalation versus early, highly effective treatment. There’s even info about totally opting out of treatment.

Best of all, for each medication, there’s a video of an MS neurologist discussing his or her firsthand experience treating patients with that DMT. (And my neurologist is one of them.) Wow!

It’s a fantastic tool

The Ultimate MS Treatment Guide is fabulous. It’s clear, easy to navigate, and contains so much information. It’s even graphically beautiful. I don’t know how much it cost to develop, but I think it was worth every dollar. I think you will, too.

You’re invited to visit my personal blog at www.themswire.com.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

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