Over the last 20 years the introduction of new drugs to help modify the course of MS has been the most outstanding feature of on-going MS research and treatment. Access to a list of commonly prescribed medications will help navigate this ever-changing area of information. Please remember that new drugs may be introduced regularly so look out for updates!
To date most DMDs have focused on reducing the number and/or severity of relapses in the early relapse/remitting phase of MS (RRMS). Only very recently have drugs that have an impact on progressive MS been tested and are becoming available for wider use. This is a very welcome development but please be aware that all drugs powerful enough to help modify the course of MS will have some side effects and some risk attached to their use. If you are being prescribed any of these drugs it is most important that you comply with all advice given by your MS Team, attend all appointments for blood tests and medication reviews and take note of any unusual events whether you think they are linked to your medication or not.
In September 2018 NHS England issued statements on best practice for the many DMDs now available. Be aware that these statements apply particularly to treatment in the NHS In England. They are built on the evaluation of research and post-research findings and best practice nationally and internationally. Your MS medical team will have access to all such advice and any updates. They will be able to advise you of any changes that might affect your treatment. The advice is also likely to change over to time so always check for updates.
Very specific guidelines are offered to doctors to help decisions as to which drug is most likely to be the best for each person. Some drugs are more likely to be used in Scotland or Wales than in England. New drugs may be added and occasionally a drug may be withdrawn due to unwanted side effects or reasons such as cost . Always keep your MS appointments, take note of any new developments in your MS and make sure you follow all advice from your MS team.
You may find that the drug you started on works well for you or you may find that you need to change your DMT over time. Swapping one drug for another is only done when there are clear indications of change in your MS. YOU are very much a part of your own treatment.
A number of professional clinicians can help you overcome the impact of MS on life and develop areas of self management of problems and symptoms. The multi-disciplinary MS team in your area should include or have access to MS nurses, MS specialist physiotherapists, specialist occupational therapists and clinical psychologists. Some indications of helpful strategies are given here.