Choosing a treatment for MS: Your doctor can help

Wondering which treatment is right for you? Your doctor can do two things to help you decide:

  • give you the information you need to make an informed decision
  • offer a professional opinion based on experience and insight

You'll get the most out of your doctor's visit if you come prepared:

  • Schedule your visit for a time of day when you have the most energy.
  • Before your visit, write down the questions you'd like to ask your doctor. The suggestions below will help get you started.
  • Bring a notepad (or a friend) to your visit to help you keep track of the information you get during your appointment.

Here are a few questions to ask your doctor:

  1. How will this medication help with my MS (and by how much)?
    • Can it slow down the progression of disability?
    • Can it make my relapses less frequent or severe?
    • Can it reduce my brain lesions?
    • Can it help prevent me from developing clinically definite MS?
    • Can it relieve my MS symptoms? Which ones, and how much can I expect them to improve?
    • Can it help treat my relapses?
    • How else can it help with my MS?
  2. When can I expect the medication to start working, and how long will it continue to be effective?
  3. What will happen to my MS if I don't take the medication?
  4. What side effects are possible with this medication?
  5. Which side effects am I most likely to get?
  6. What are the most serious side effects with this medication, and how common are they? When should I seek medical attention for a side effect?
  7. What is the long-term safety of this medication? How long has the medication been used by people with MS?
  8. Which MS medication or treatment approach do you recommend, and why?
  9. How does this treatment compare to my other options?
  10. If I choose this option, would there be any situations where I should reconsider my decision? (e.g., if you become pregnant, if you develop side effects)

Asking these questions will help you and your doctor weigh the available treatment options and find the treatment that's right for you. You may also wish to add your own questions to this list. Don't be afraid to ask any questions that are on your mind, and keep asking questions until you fully understand your treatment options.

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