The MS medication challenge

People with MS may be on a variety of medications for multiple sclerosis therapy, including medications to slow disease progression, drugs to manage symptoms, and medications to treat acute attacks. But many people with MS may be missing out on the benefits because they don't take their medications as directed. This problem affects up to half of all patients taking disease-modifying drugs for MS. Why?

There's no simple answer. The reasons are complex and different for each person. But some common reasons include:

Forgetting when and how to take the medication: This is a problem for many people taking long-term medications, but for people with MS, cognitive impairment and memory issues may make it even more difficult to keep track of their medications.

Physical issues: People with MS may have coordination problems, fatigue, vision problems, tremors, and spasticity (involuntary muscle spasms). These physical symptoms may make it difficult for them to open medication containers or give themselves injections (disease-modifying medications for MS are given by injection).

Expectations and concerns about the medication: It's hard to stick with a medication when it doesn't work as well as you'd hoped it would. While hope is important, it's also important to have a realistic expectation of how well the medication will work so that you know what to expect. Fears or concerns about a medication can be another barrier to using it as directed. These can range from anxiety about self-injection to fears of side effects or concerns that the medication won't work. People may also experience feelings of denial about having MS and view taking medication as a sign that they are sick.

Are you experiencing any of these medication challenges? If so, learn more about how to manage them in the next topics of this health feature.

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