How can MS medications help me?

MS is an unpredictable health condition that's with you for life. The good news is that medications are available to help you weather the storm. Some relieve symptoms and help treat flare-ups, and others can also help modify the course of the disease.

Disease-modifying medications can help people with relapsing forms of MS reduce the number of flare-ups. But that's not all - they can also slow down the "silent damage" that MS is doing to your brain and spinal cord, even between flare-ups. Usually, two attacks (flare-ups) are needed for a definite diagnosis of MS.

Disease-modifying medications available in Canada include:

  • Rebif® (interferon beta-1a)
  • Avonex® (interferon beta-1a)
  • Betaseron® (interferon beta-1b)
  • Copaxone® (glatiramer)
  • Tysabri® (natalizumab - used only after one of the other medications in this list is not effective)

There are many other medications that can help you live well with MS. Even though they may not slow the progression of the disease, they can help you manage your symptoms and continue to enjoy your normal activities. These medications include corticosteroids (such as methylprednisolone) for flare-ups, oxybutynin or tolterodine for bladder problems, or tizanidine for muscle spasms. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which medications would be most appropriate for your particular symptoms.

Because MS is a long-term condition, it's important to have a treatment that can go the distance. If you're wondering about the long-term effectiveness of your medication, talk to your doctor.

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