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While there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, the Food and Drug Administration has approved three forms of beta interferon: Avonex, Betaseron and Rebif. These drugs treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis by reducing the number of exacerbations. It is thought to slow the progression of the physical disabilities associated with multiple sclerosis. Attacks are shorter and less severe.
Also approved is a synthetic form of myelin basic protein. This is called copolymer I. It also treats relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and studies have indicated that the relapse rate is cut by almost a third. For advanced or chronic multiple sclerosis, the FDA has approved an immunosuppressant treatment—Novantrone.
Doctors can diagnose multiple sclerosis in some patients right after the disease presents. In some patients, diagnosis eludes the patient and doctors. In cases such as this, patients may have years of uncertainty and many diagnoses because of symptoms that come and go. The disease tends to remit spontaneously and there is no treatment that is universally effective. Each patient is treated on an individual basis. What may work for one patient with multiple sclerosis may not work for another patient.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|