Multiple Sclerosis: Living and Managing

By Julia Aparicio

Multiple Sclerosis: Living and Managing

Early treatment of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that obstructs communication between the brain and other parts of the body, can be crucial for minimizing damage to the central nervous system. MS often can cause more damage in the first year alone than in following years, so a rapid course of treatment often is recommended. Today, multiple types of treatments are accessible to minimize relapses and delay progression. According to, possible treatment options include:

  • Beta interferons. These are injectable medications used to treat Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS, the most common form of the disease). Depending on the medication, it can be administered under the skin or into the muscle. The dose can vary from alternate days to once a week.
  • Glatiramer acetate. This is administered each day to treat RRMS by subcuntaneous injection (under the skin). This treatment also is given to patients who have had an initial clinical episode and have MRI results associated with MS.
  • This treatment is a capsule ingested orally once a day. It is used to treat relapsing forms of MS and works to lessen the frequency of clinical exacerbations and delay increasing physical disability.
  • This oral tablet can be taken daily by patients with relapsing forms of MS.
  • Dimethyl fumarate. This capsule can be taken twice a day orally by patients with relapsing types of MS.
  • This treatment is used for worsening RRMS, as well as progressive-relapsing MS or secondary-progressive MS. It is a chemotherapeutic agent administered every three months intravenously through an infusion.
  • This form of therapy is exclusively for patients with rapidly progressing MS or with elevated disease activity despite using other treatments. The medication is administered intravenously every four weeks.

Certain lifestyle changes can be made regarding physical activity and diet to help to improve MS. According to, some steps to help relieve signs and symptoms of MS include:

  • Getting regular exercise has been shown to improve muscle tone, strength and coordination in cases of mild to moderate MS. Walking, stretching, low-impact aerobics, and swimming are a few different moderate exercise options for patients with MS.
  • Cool down. When body temperatures rise, symptoms of MS can worsen. Using cooling blankets and avoiding exposure to heat can help.
  • A balanced diet. Certain dietary changes have been shown to yield results in MS. Studies suggest a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in saturated fats can be beneficial. Vitamin D also has been shown to have positive effects in certain patients.
  • Relieve stress. Symptoms of MS can be worsened by stress; stress-deactivating activities such as tai chi, yoga, massage, deep breathing, and meditation have been shown to help.

Last Reviewed 4/11/2016

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Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.

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