FAQs about MS treatment options
There currently is no MS cure, but several treatments are available to help manage the disease. Some of these therapies are designed to control the immune system, reduce inflammation, and delay long-term disability progression. Others are used to address specific symptoms associated with the disease. The goal of any MS treatment plan is to slow progression of the disease, help accelerate recovery from relapses, and ultimately enhance patients’ quality of life and ability to function in activities of daily living.
Yes. Three main categories of medications are used in MS: disease-modifying therapies, to prevent disease relapses and slow disability accumulation; relapse management therapies, to reduce the duration and severity of acute relapses; and symptomatic treatments, to manage specific symptoms associated with the disease, such as fatigue and spasticity.
Because each MS patient experiences the disease differently, it is difficult to predict how a person will respond to a given treatment. Selecting an optimal treatment plan should be a joint effort between the patient and the healthcare team, based on the individual’s symptoms, MS type, disease severity, needs, and preferences. The potential risks and benefits of each therapy also should be carefully assessed.
Yes, MS treatment is covered by health insurance. Each state, however, follows different rules and laws; thus, the costs of therapy might differ. Due to the Affordable Care Act, denials or restrictions in health insurance, or higher premium rates because of a preexisting condition such as MS, are prohibited.
MS is a lifelong, chronic disease with no cure. Some forms of the disease can, however, progress very slowly over the years. These cases are sometimes referred to as inactive or “benign” MS and are characterized by at least 15 years of disease duration with few symptoms and little disability accumulation.