Currently, there are many DMTs approved for multiple sclerosis treatment by the United States Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Some of these treatments may or may not be available within the country where you live. You can discuss which are available with your health care provider.
The mechanisms of how the various treatments actually work differ and in some respects are unknown. All the medications have gone through rigorous vetting processes known as clinical trials. These clinical trials have the medications tested with people who endure life with multiple sclerosis for efficacy (effectiveness), side effects and often other aspects of the medication usage. The data that results from the clinical trials is reviewed by governing authorities and either approved or disapproved for market approval and clinical usage for patients.
In multiple sclerosis, a person’s immune system attacks cells in the central nervous system which comprises the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Disease modifying therapies attempt to limit these attacks called exacerbations. You will often see exacerbations called “MS Attacks, Flare-Up’s, Relapses or, Disease Activity” in research or reading materials.
Our immune systems when functioning normally work to fight off invaders such as viruses, bacteria, and other antigens within our bodies. In multiple sclerosis the immune system attacks nerve cells in the central nervous system.
Essentially all the DMTs attempt to stop immune cells known or thought to be involved in exacerbations via their mechanisms of action. Some attempt stop cell replication, some try sequester cells, some destroy immune cells known to take part in attacks.
Dr. Jacqueline Nicholas, OhioHealth MS neurologist, speaks how disease modifying MS therapies can help prevent new attacks over time and how to know if your therapy is working. Learn more about OhioHealth’s MS Clinic at www.OhioHealth.com/MS.