4 Types of Multiple Sclerosis

admin avatar

by admin |

Share this article:

Share article via email

news_17_Artboard 343 copy 320

There are four disease courses that have been identified in multiple sclerosis:
clinically isolated syndrome (CIS); relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS); primary progressive MS (PPMS); and secondary progressive MS (SPMS).

1. Clinically Isolated Syndrome: With neurologic symptoms caused by inflammation and demyelination in the central nervous system, this first episode — which must last at least 24 hours, according to definition — is typical of multiple sclerosis but does not yet meet the criteria for a diagnosis of the disease. People who have a clinically isolated syndrome will not necessarily go on to develop multiple sclerosis. An MRI will better determine the likelihood that someone who has a CIS will develop MS. If lesions on a brain MRI are seen with CIS, there is a higher chance the patient will develop MS.
news_17_Artboard 343 copy 321

2. Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS):  This is the most common form of MS with clear defined phases of relapse (repeat attacks or exacerbations), with progressive worsening of nerve functions with each attack, followed by phases of relief (or remission) where normal conditions are restored partially or completely. RRMS occurs in 85 percent of cases.
news_17_Artboard 343 copy 322

3. Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS):  This represents a condition with steady progression without early relapses or remissions, and temporary periods of stability. There can also be increasing periods of disability for the patient, either with or without new relapses or MRI lesions. PPMS develops in about 15 percent of MS cases.
news_17_Artboard 343 copy 323

4. Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS): This follows RRMS, with continued relapses and progressive neurological damage. Most patients will eventually transition to a secondary progressive course, with worsening of nerve damage, with or without remissions. It can be characterized as either active or not active, and with progression or without progression. Disability gradually increases over time during this course.


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.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor If You’re Newly Diagnosed

Illustration of doctor an patient talked
We consulted some of our community contributors at MS News Today and came up with 12 questions people should consider asking their doctors after an MS diagnosis.

Check it out by clicking here.

Dancing Doodle

Did you know some of the news and columns on Multiple Sclerosis News Today are recorded and available for listening on SoundCloud? These audio news stories give our readers an alternative option for accessing information important for them.

Listen Here