FDA Approved MS Modifying Medications

At this time, there is no known cure for MS. The FDA has approved these medications to slow the progression of multiple sclerosis:

Since 1993, medications that alter the immune system, particularly interferons, have been used to manage multiple sclerosis.

Interferons are a protein that naturally occurs in the body. Cells produce interferons that when invaded by a virus inhibit replication of infected cells.

Avonex pen 240x 180

Intramuscular Injection Weekly

Avonex (Interferon beta-1a)
It is not known exactly how, but Avonex works by reducing the amount of damage the immune system does to the Myelin (nerve’s protective coating) by mimicking the interferon proteins that are naturally occurring in our bodies. It is thought that Avonex works by limiting the immune system’s ability to respond.

Injected Subcutaneously 3-Times-Weekly

Avonex Side Effects
Weakness and flu like symptoms typically accompany Avonex injections. These symptoms usually last until a day after the injection and will lessen, or go away over time.

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Betaseron  Autoinjector

Injected Subcutaneously Every Other Day

 

Betaseron (Interferon beta-1b)
It is believed that interferon-beta based drugs are beneficial because of their anti-inflammatory properties and their ability to strengthen the blood brain barrier (BBB). Studies have determined that the BBB generally breaks down in MS patients, allowing increasing amounts of undesirable substances to reach the brain.

Intramuscular Injection Weekly

Betaseron Side Effects
As with the other interferon-mimicking drugs, common side effects are weakness, flu-like symptoms, and pain at the injection site. In most cases, reactions are minor and require little (if any) treatment. However, there are a number of potentially serious side effects that should be reported to a healthcare provider immediately, including depression, difficulty breathing, or frequent infections.

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Rebif Injector

Injected Subcutaneously 3-Times-Weekly

Rebif (Interferon beta-1a)
Rebif contains specific interferon that is identical to the body’s natural human interferon beta. The exact way Rebif works is not known, but interferons are thought to fight MS by regulating immune cells outside the central nervous system (CNS), by stopping immune cells from crossing the blood-brain barrier, and reducing inflammation in the CNS.

Injected Subcutaneously 3-Times-Weekly

Rebif Side Effects
As I said before, with all the interferon-mimicking drugs, common side effects are weakness, flu-like symptoms, and pain at the injection site. In most cases, reactions are minor and require little (if any) treatment.

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Copaxone Autoject

Injected Subcutaneously Every Day

Copaxone (Glatiramer acetate)
COPAXONE® is believed to work with your immune system by both preventing harmful immune cells from developing and simultaneously stimulating the production of beneficial immune cells in your body. These “good” COPAXONE®-activated cells then enter the CNS and help reduce inflammation and damage at the site of lesions.

Injected Subcutaneously Every Day

Copaxone Side Effects
Copaxone is different than the other interferon-based drugs. Therefore, it has different side effects – it does not have flue-like symptoms, possible link to
depression, potential liver damage or effects on white blood cells or thyroid function.

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Tysabri

Monthly Infusion

Tysabri (Natalizumab)
T-cells are the immune system’s assassins, they find viruses and germs and kill them. It’s thought that in MS the T-cells are confused and attack the myelin. Tysabri is believed to attach itself to the damaging T-cells, preventing the T-cells from recognizing and destroying the myelin sheath. Tysabri prevents a majority of T-cells from crossing the BBB and entering the CNS. And even if a few do get across the BBB and enter the CNS, Tysabri is able to migrate (move) them away from the myelin, providing us with double coverage from the damaging T-cells.

Monthly Infusion

Tysabri Side Effects
TYSABRI increases your chance of getting a rare brain infection that usually causes death or severe disability. This infection is called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).

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Gilenya

One Capsule Daily

Gilenya (Fingolimod
Gilenya is the first oral disease-modifying therapy available for the long-term treatment of MS.
Gilenya is the first in a new class of immunomodulatory drugs called S1P-receptor modulators. It is similar in structure to a naturally occurring component of cell surface receptors on white blood cells. Gilenya blocks potentially damaging T-cells from leaving lymph nodes, lowering their number in the blood and tissues. It may also reduce damage to the CNS and enhance the repair of damaged neurons.

One Capsule Daily

Gilenya Side Effects
Gilenya can cause your heart rate to slow down, especially after the first dose. Your heart rate will usually return to normal within one month after you start taking Gilenya. Macular edema (a condition that can affect vision,
caused by swelling behind the eyes). Reversible elevation of liver enzymes. Infections; a slight increase in lung infections (primarily bronchitis) and herpes are also of concern.

The first dose of Gilenya will be given in a doctor’s office, where you will be observed for six hours for signs and symptoms that may be associated with decreased heart rate and other possible heart effects. While on therapy, your doctor will probably evaluate your vision during routine visits.

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Aubagio

One Capsule Daily

Aubagio (teriflunomide)
Research suggests that AUBAGIO works differently than other MS therapies by blocking the reproduction of overactive immune cells (including T- and B-cells) that may cause MS inflammation.

One Capsule Daily

Aubagio Side effects
AUBAGIO may cause serious side effects, including reduced white blood cell count. Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet that is different from your MS symptoms, kidney problems, high potassium levels in your blood, serious skin problems, breathing problems (new or worsening), high blood pressure. The most common side effects of AUBAGIO include Abnormal liver test results, hair thinning or loss, diarrhea, flu, upset stomach, burning or prickling feeling in your skin

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Tecfidera

Two capsules daily

Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate)
Tecfidera works on the immune system in a different way than the other MS drugs.

Our bodies contain certain toxins that can cause stress on our cells. This particular type of stress is called oxidative stress and, when it builds up, it can lead to cell damage and even destroy healthy cells in different places in our bodies, such as the central nervous system (CNS). One way our bodies respond to oxidative stress is through the Nrf2 pathway. Researchers have learned that the active ingredient of Tecfidera, dimethyl fumarate, activates this pathway in our cells.

Take two capsules daily

Tecfidera decreased white blood cells so your doctor may do blood tests before starting treatment and from time to time while you take Tecfidera.

Tecfidera Side effects
The most common side effects are flushing and stomach problems, which happened mainly at the start of treatment and usually decreased over time.

The National MS Society believes it is important to get on a Pharmaceutical Therapy as soon as possible.

Linda

About our Co-Founder: With a bachelors in Social Work, Linda is 53 years old, happily married with eight children and 17 grandchildren. Diagnosed with MS in 1995 and now having accepted and truly embraced her new reality, Linda has created MSrelief.com. She is dedicated to proving that joy can be chosen while living with Multiple Sclerosis. Linda specializes in helping others, especially those with MS attain the lifestyle, independence and happiness amid living with MS.

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