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List of MS Drugs

This is a current list of disease modifying drugs (DMDs). Over the last 20 years a number of new drugs that are able to change the course of MS have been introduced, this is the first era in which we have been able to modify MS progress. New drugs are being added constantly and we will do our best to this list up to date. Currently it is based on NHS England's recommendations, and it is likely to change over time.

Do bear in mind that the situation in Scotland and Wales may be different. If you are taking any disease modifying drugs, it is vital that you make sure you attend all of your neurology appointments.   

DMDs most frequently in use

Usually less aggressive drugs will be used to treat MS initially and this will only change if there is little effect. This means that if current DMDs are not working effectively there may be other options available.

(Listed by original and trade name)

Copaxone Most frequently used as a “first line drug” in early RRMS (see also Interferon beta).

Interferon Beta Betaferon1a and 1b (EXTAVIA) Most commonly prescribed in early relapse remitting MS (RRMS). Generally referred to as a “first line drug”. 

Cladribine (MAVENCLAD) Used in early MS only if MS appears to be very active or if there is intolerance to Beta-interferon or Copaxone.  

Fingolimod (GILENYA) Gilenya may be prescribed for people whose MS does not respond to first line drugs, or those whose MS suddenly worsens.

Teriflunomide (ABAGIO) Another option for people with RRMS that is not very active.  

Natalizumab (TYSABRI) Used if “first line drugs” do not affect relapses and development of disability is judged to be rapid. MRI scans and other evidence are needed before this drug is prescribed and tests for John Cunningham (JC) virus need to be carried out before it is prescribed.

Alemtuzumab (LEMTRADA) May be used in early RRMS if the course is very rapid or severe. However, it is most often used if progression becomes more vigorous, and response to the first line drugs shows no effect on relapses or progression.

New Drugs Under Development

The many drugs already being used in MS and the new ones being developed all focus on different aspects of the immune system and its part in inflammation and damage in MS.

A recently introduced drug for treating MS in both its progressive and secondary progressive stages is Ocrelizumab (Ocrevas). This is an exciting development that shows promise in treating progressive MS. 

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