Secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) is a second stage of MS that follows relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Around 65% of people with RRMS will develop SPMS about 15 years after RRMS diagnosis.

Establishing SPMS diagnosis can be challenging to neurologists because at least six months of progression must be observed before RRMS can be considered secondary progressive. The worsening of symptoms could be due to a relapse that caused permanent but stable damage after an inflammatory attack ended. In that case, the patient is still in the RRMS phase — or there was a worsening of the condition without inflammatory relapses. Repeat brain MRI scans and a neurologic examination can help determine if the disease has actually progressed to SPMS.

SPMS can be characterized as not active, active (with relapses or evidence of new brain MRI lesions), without progression, or with progression (when there is evidence of worsening of the disease over time, with or without relapses).

People diagnosed with SPMS who are on disease-modifying therapies for MS can often continue taking them. The medications include:

Interferon beta (Avonex, Betaseron, Extavia, Plegridy and Rebif)

Teriflunomide (Aubagio)

Fingolimod (Gilenya)

Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada)

Dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera)

Natalizumab (Tysabri)

One FDA approved chemotherapeutic agent, Novantrone (mitoxantrone) made specifically for SPMS (and for worsening relapsing MS), suppresses the immune system. While there is significant unmet need for SPMS treatments, promising therapies are currently progressing through the research and development pipeline.

There are ways for SPMS patients to help manage the disease. Appropriate exercise and healthy eating habits are important for all people with MS. When relapse or worsening of symptoms occur, physical and occupational therapy can help minimize muscle weakness and help restore movement.

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.



Different Ways of Working Tailor Mayzent for Early SPMS Patients, Novartis Says

The effectiveness of Mayzent (siponimod) in both the brain and the body make it an oral therapy tailored for people with early secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS), according to Dan Bar-Zohar, MD, top executive with Novartis, the treatment’s developer. Mayzent was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis […]

#AAN2019 — Ibudilast Slows Brain Atrophy in PPMS But Not SPMS Patients, Phase 2b Trial Shows

Treatment with oral ibudilast slows brain shrinkage in patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), but not in those with secondary progressive MS (SPMS), according to results of a Phase 2b clinical trial. According to the findings, this could be partially due to faster disease progression in untreated controls with PPMS. The study, “Response to Treatment […]

Mayzent Joins the MS Medication Arsenal, But I Have Questions

As you might have heard, a disease-modifying therapy (DMT) for patients with active secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) was approved a few days ago. That’s great news. A medication targeting SPMS is overdue, but it could be better. The DMT is Mayzent (siponimod), a tablet that’s taken once a day. The U.S. Food and Drug […]

MS Patient Groups React Favorably to Mayzent Approval, But Question Therapy’s Price Tag

National organizations that represent patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) welcome the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s March 26 approval of Novartis’ oral therapy Mayzent (siponimod) — but they complain that, at $88,500 per year, the treatment is overpriced. The Multiple Sclerosis Society of America (MSSA) is clearly upbeat about the new medication. The organization’s chief medical consultant, Jack Burks, MD, […]

FDA Approves Novartis’ Mayzent for Relapsing Forms of Multiple Sclerosis, Including Active SPMS

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Novartis’ Mayzent (siponimod) oral tablets for adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), including clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), relapsing-remitting disease (RRMS), and active secondary progressive disease (SPMS). Mayzent was designed to inhibit the activity of two sphingosine-1-phosphate receptors on the surface of immune cells. It […]

Intimacy and MS: A Lesson in Discovery

Living with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis is a lesson in discovery. I strive to manage life with MS one day at a time. My disease touches all aspects of my life. One of the elements it affects is intimacy: closeness, affinity, warmth, trust, and mutual affection. Intimacy is friendliness, comradery, and understanding — it is also […]

SPMS Treatment With Mayzent Better Than Best Supportive Care, ICER Report Says

Treatment of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) patients with the investigational oral therapy Mayzent (siponimod) significantly reduced the risk of disability progression and decreased inflammation, compared to best supportive care, according to a preliminary draft evidence report from the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER). The report and the draft voting questions on clinical evidence, other […]

My Second Act: Turning 50 with SPMS

If a cat has nine lives then I have at least twice as many. One day shy of my 50th birthday, my mind runs a vivid montage of years past. I close my eyes and I am there. I feel a heavy melancholy as the movie rolls. I see my family. I see my parents. […]

MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: New DMT, Stem Cell Trial, Pediatric MS Treatment Study

FDA Will Review New Drug Application of Diroximel Fumarate for Relapsing Forms of MS The good news: Another disease-modifying therapy (DMT) has taken a step toward approval in the U.S. The discouraging news: It’s another DMT designed to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. More than a dozen of those treatments are currently available. When […]