Multiple Sclerosis Treatments
In this final article our series on multiple sclerosis we're going to go over treatments for the disease.
Sadly, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis. There are, however, treatments that can slow down the progression of the disease and lessen its effects, thus allowing persons suffering from multiple sclerosis to live as close to a normal life as possible. In this article we're going to discuss the more general treatments. Because multiple sclerosis causes so many problems it would be impossible to go over every treatment possible as that would literally take up a whole book.
The treatments available today that are most effective are the ones that deal with the autoimmune component of multiple sclerosis. These treatments work by regulating the immune system. These are known as "ABC" treatments. These are the drugs Avonex, Betaseron or Betaferon, and Copaxone. There are actually 2 more drugs similar to the above 3. They are Rebif and Novantrone. These are still referred to as the "ABC" treatments because of ease of remembering.
Avonex is a form of Betainterferon. It is used to treat multiple sclerosis by reducing the average relapse rate in people suffering from relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. Avonex, as a compound, is identical to a naturally occurring protein found in our bodies, which is the reason why it is effective. It works with our immune system in a more natural way.
Betaseron and Betaferon are very similar to Avonex in that they also reduce the average relapse rate in people suffering from relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. The difference is that Betaseron and Betaferon is that it has also been shown to reduce EDSS progression and the relapse rate in people who suffer from secondary progressive multiple sclerosis who are still suffering from relapses.
Copaxone is actually a brand name for a synthetic chemical used to modify the course of multiple sclerosis. Similar to the drugs discussed above, Copaxone also reduces the average relapse rate in people suffering from relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. In addition it also limits the forming of new lesions in the central nervous system and reduces brain atrophy.
Copaxone is actually a chain of amino acids. Originally, it was designed to mimic a protein in myelin. The intention was to induce EAE, which is an animal model of multiple sclerosis in order to better understand how to treat the human form of this disease. However, the design and the results were two very different things. Copaxone actually had the effect of suppressing the disease. The truth is, at least at this point in time, researchers don't really know how Copaxone works. There is some evidence to show that it converts the body's immune response from a th1 type to a th2 type. Further evidence suggests that it might promote suppressor T cells or act as an altered peptide ligand.
Again, there are many treatments for multiple sclerosis and the above drugs are just the tip of the iceberg. The MS foundation is making progress daily in finding a cure for this horrible disease. Let us hope and pray that day comes very soon.