Multiple Sclerosis MS Medicines – Thanks to the advancements of science today, many new disease-modifying medicines come to our aid. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease. However, there are medicines that can improve our lives and control the disease.
First-Line Multiple Sclerosis MS Medicines
These medicines are used at the beginning of the disease and sometimes in cases of the clinically isolated syndrome. Generally, the main purpose of these medicines is to reduce the frequency of attacks.
Patients regularly inject the interferon-beta group and glatiramer acetate medicines under the skin. The frequency of injections depends on the brand. Commonly, 1 or 3 doses per week. Patients start with a low dose initially and slowly go for full doses later on.
Although it varies from person to person, fever and changes in liver functions are common side effects. Therefore, it is important to use these medicines under the supervision of healthcare professionals. Usually, side effects decrease or disappear in the future. You should pay attention to regularly changing the injection sites and take care. Interferons should be stored as described in prescribing information.
Teriflunomide and dimethyl fumarate group medicines are in tablet form. Usually used daily. Neck and face flushing, digestive system disorders are common side effects. Also, rare cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) have been observed. Side effects decrease or disappear in the future.
Second-Line Multiple Sclerosis MS Medicines
Basically, healthcare professionals give these medicines to patients who do not see the expected benefits from first-line medicines. Second-line medicines based on fingolimod, ozanimod, siponimod, and teriflunomide are in tablet form. As with all the other multiple sclerosis MS medicines, supervision of health professionals is a must.
Third-Line Multiple Sclerosis MS Medicines
Ocrelizumab, natalizumab, alemtuzumab, mitoxantrone are in this group of medicines. Patients take these medications intravenously in a healthcare facility. It is usually necessary to stay under observation for a few hours after taking medication.
Third-line medicines have strong effects as well as side effects. Accordingly, healthcare professionals should regularly evaluate the risk of PML in MS patients. It is very important that you do the risk/benefit assessment with healthcare professionals.
What is Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML)?
It is a rare disease that can be fatal. JC Virus, the cause of PML, is normally suppressed by the immune system in the general population. Unfortunately, it affects MS patients more. JC Virus is less suppressed in our body due to the effects of second and especially third-line medicines. Increased JC Virus levels mean a greater risk of PML. Undoubtedly, regularly monitoring of JC Virus levels is critical.
Multiple Sclerosis MS Medicine Which One?
When healthcare professionals diagnose you with MS or clinically isolated syndrome, they will inform you about the appropriate options. Generally, healthcare professionals ask you to choose injections or tablets for first-line medication. In some cases, you may have other options depending on your PML risk.
Additionally, multiple Sclerosis MS medications initiation and discontinuation stages require special care. The withdrawal of many medications is a slow process. For this reason, you should discontinue your medication with the support of healthcare professionals.