Drugs And Medication

This is intended as a guide to help people find out what treatment, drugs and therapies are available to people with MS. For a deeper understanding follow links at the bottom of the page.

Name of Drug (In alphabetical order) Purpose Type of MS Helped Type of drug Time taken for effects to take place Possible side effects (As per research) How is it taken What the Stats show
Amantadine (Symmetrel, Lysovir) Treat fatigue Mild to moderate Symptom management Mild, can include constipation, anxiety, nausea and hyperactivity Daily tablets Can reduce fatigue in 20-40% of people
Avonex (Interferon beta 1a) Reduce relapses RRMS & SPMS DMD Flu like symptoms, but are usually not a problem after three months Injection, once a week Can reduce relapse rate by a third and also severity of relapse
Azathioprine Im(uran) Reduce Relapses Moderate to aggressive DMD xc Well tolerated, but can include nausea, severe anaemia and liver damage Orally as tablets Studies show, relapse rates are reduced and slows down disability progression
Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) – Previously known as Campath Reduce relapses RRMS DMD Infusion site related infections and old/flu symptoms. Infusions over 3-5 days, once a year Relapse and progression rate reduced
Alprostadil (Caverject, MUSE, Viridal) Treat erectile dysfunction As required Symptom management Pain and irritation in the penis. Injection or pellet
Amitriptyline (Triptafen) Pain and/or Depression As required Symptom management 2-4 weeks Can add to effects of other medication. Can also include dry mouth, sensitive skin, blurred vision, UTI and constipation Oral tablets, usually at night Alter how nervous system reacts to pain
Baclofen (Lioresal) Spasticity and Spasms As required Symptom management Affect about 45%, these include drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness and difficulty sleeping. High can lead to more side effects. Tablets or liquid. Dosage is key Reduces the transmissions of messages to muscles causing them to contract
Betaferon (UK), Betaeson (North America). (Interferon beta 1b) Reduce relapse rate RRMS and some SPMS DMD Flu like symptoms after injection, but usually not a problem after three months. Injection sites may become red, itchy, swell or cause some pain Injection under the skin every other day. Reduces relapse rate by a third and reduces severity of relapse
Botulinum toxin (Botox, Dysport, Xeomin) Spasticity, Spasms and Bladder problems As required Symptom management Generally well tolerated, with few side effects Injection by trained professional once every six to ten months Doses prevent nerve messages that cause spasticity/spasm.
Botox (Botulinum Toxin) See above – Botulinum toxin)
Campath (Alemtuzumab) See above - Alemtuzumab
Carbamazepine (Tegretol) Spasticity, Spasm and Pain As required Symptom management Nausea, dizziness, sedation, liver disorders, constipation. Many which ease over time Tablets, once to several times a day An anti-epilepsy drug used to treat pain on symptoms mentioned
Clonazepam (Rivotril) Tremors, occasionally for pain or spasticity As required As required Fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness, ataxia, lightheadedness, drowsiness, confusion, depression. Orally as tablets Can cause dependency. Can be dangerous taken with alcohol and a number of other drugs.
Copaxone (Glatiramer acetate) Reduce relapse rate RRMS DMD Injection site reactions, such as redness, itching, swelling. At the extreme can cause chest tightening. No long term problems. Daily injections Reduces the relapse rate by a third
Cyclophosphamide (Endoxana, Revimmune) To reduce relapses and progression As required DMD In short-term... hair loss, nausea, bladder irritation and risk of infection Tablets or IV Injection or Drip Usually used with Chemotherapy to treat cancer/leukaemia. Does not show benefit in MS
Dantrolene sodium (Dantrium) To treat severe spasticity and spasms As required Symptom management Drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, fatigue. Possibly also severe diarrhoea Orally as tablets Should only be used if baclofen or gabapentin (described above) has not been successful
Desmopressin (Desmotabs) Treatment of urinary continence problems (specifically for those needing frequent use at night) As required Symptom management Not to be taken by over 65's or those with diabetes, heart or kidney problems. Also dependant on medication you are already taking. Orally as tablets, but NO fluid one hour before or eight hours after use. The nasal spray is no longer used, due to concerns. Supresses the production of urine by the kidneys
Diazepam (Valium) To treat spasticity and spasms As required Symptom management Drowsiness, fatigue, unsteadiness and feeling less alert. Orally as tablets Can cause dependency. Should not be taken with alcoholor a number of other drugs.
Extavis (Interferon beta 1b) (Also available as Betaferon) To reduce relapses and severity RRMS & SPMS DMD Flu like symptoms after injection, but usually not a problem after three months. Injection sites may become red, itchy, swell or cause some pain Daily injections Reduces relapse rate by a third and the severity.
Fampridine (Famprya) To improve speed of walking Relapsing and Progressive MS Symptom management Falls, back pain, insomnia, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, balance disorders Orally as tablets 35% found improvement in walking, tested over 25-Foot walk test.
Fingolimod (Gilenya) Reduce relapse rate and delaying disability progression RRMS and trials taking place for PPMS DMD Temporary decrease in heart rate, possible heart problems. Others include headache, liver enzyme increase, influenza, diahorrea, back pain and cough Orally as capsules In RRMS relapse rate decreased by over 50%, research also shows it works better than beta interferon drugs. However is usually only given when patient has tried beta interferons first.
Fluoxetine (Prozac) Normally prescribed for depression As required Symptom management 4-6 weeks Dizziness or feeling light headed, dry mouth, redued sexual drive or ability, diarrhoea, drowsiness, headache, trouble sleeping, abnormal dreams, irregular heartbeat, frequent urination, menstrual pain, tiredness/weakness, tremor, vomiting. Most of these go away once someone has adjusted to medication. Orally as tablets Can be affected by other medication. Should be taken in morning, to avoid disturbing sleep. Also present health conditions dictate how many can be taken.
Gabapentin (Neurontin) To treat Neuropathic pain, also treatment of spasms and spasticity As required Symptom management Sedation, dizziness, fatigue and weakness Orally as tablets Is often recommended as first drug to be used for the symptoms mentioned
Gilenya (Fingolimod) (See above- Fingolimod)
Impramine (Tofranil) Depression, can also be used for pain relief and mild bladder problems As required Symptom management Drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, headache, increased appetite. Some may ease over time Orally as tablets Alters the way the central nervous system reacts to pain
Lamotrigine (Lamictal) Spasticity and pain As required Symptom management Rash, headache, stomach upset, double vision, dizziness, ataxia (coordination) Orally as tablets Usually starts on low dose and increased gradually
Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) To treat drug addiction (Not licensed to treat MS, but a doctor may prescribe it "off label" if they feel it is appropriate N/A N/A Trials suggest the Low Dose has NO significant side effects Orally as capsules or liquid form Following anecdotal reports that low doses of Naltrexone can help those with wide range of conditions. Studies into MS have shown reduced spasticity, but effect on no other symptoms
Methotrexate (Maxtrex) Reducing rate of relapses and progression RRMS and research also done in Progressive forms of MS DMD Well tolerated at the low doses. Longer term users associated with serious side effects including lung and liver problems and suppression of bone borrow. Orally as tablets
Mitoxantrone (USA – Novantrone) To treat aggressive forms of RRMS or SPMS RRMS and possibly SPMS DMD Nausea, temporary change in menstruation cycle patterns, possible thinning of hair. Urine is blue-green 24 hours after infusion. Also risks during conception times and breast feeding. Can also cause leukaemia in some people IV infusions usually as a day patient. Maximum 8-12 doses. This is a form of Chemotherapy, that reduces immune system, allowing body to restart and sort out immune system
Natalizumab (Tysabri) To reduce relapses RRMS DMD Dizziness, inflammation, nausea, vomiting, skin rash, shivering, joint pain. Can also increase of getting serious infections. IV infusion via a drip, once every four weeks Shown to reduce relapse rate by 81% and disease progression by about 65%
Paroxetine (Seroxat) Antidepressant As required Symptom management Decrease in sexual drive/ability, headache, nausea, problems urinating, change in appetite, constipation, unusual tiredness/weakness, tremor, trouble sleeping, nervousness, vision and many more Orally as tablets Increases stimulation between some brain cells
Phenytoin (Epanutim) Anti-convulsant drug to treat pain or trigeminal neuralgia As required Symptom management Constipation, mild dizziness/drowsiness. These are transitory and will pass. Stopping, includes withdrawal symptoms Orally as tablets Mainly used in epilepsy, but can be used in MS for pain related sensations.
Pregabalin (Lyrica) To treat Neuropathic or nerve pain As required Symptom management Generally well tolerated. Side effects in trials reported s drowsiness, dizziness, weight gain, fatigue. Stopping includes withdrawal symptoms Orally as tablets Works by calming over stimulated nerves.
Provigil (Modafinil) (See above – Modafinil)
Prozac (Fluoxetine) See above - Fluoxetine
Sativex (nabiximols) To treat spasticity As required Symptom management If no improve-ment shown within 4 weeks, it is stopped. Dizziness, drowsiness, diarrhoea, fatigue, nausea, headache, dry mouth Mouth spray The first cannabis-based medicine. Studies also carried out to test effects on other MS symptoms. Not funded/licenced by a number of organisations.
Sildenafil Citrate(Viagra) To treat erectile dysfunction As required Symptom management One hour Headaches, flushing, upset stomach, visual disorders, nasal congestion, dizziness. Heart/kidney/liver patients use caution. Orally as tablet (max one per day) Usually caused by bladder problems in MS patients. Delays enzymes which regulate blood flow to the penis, thus resulting in better erections. Best results shown when used one hour before sexual activity.
Steroids To treat a relapse or symptoms of relapse As required Symptom management Short term – minor and transient. Include indigestion, altered mood and sleep pattern, increased appetite, metallic taste in mouth. Long term weight gain, acne, cataracts, osteoporosis. Care needed for diabetics. Orally as tablets or via IV Unclear how they work, but it is used to speed up recovery from a relapse. No help to long-term progression of MS. Should be used short term, NOT long term.
Tizanidine (Zanaflex) To treat spasticity and spasms As required Symptom management Tiredness, drowsiness, dry mouth Orally as tablets Showed to effective treatment vs placebo. Also shown be as effective as other spasticity drugs
Tadalafil (Cialis) To treat erectile dysfunction As required Symptom management Headaches, flushing, upset stomach, visual disorders, nasal congestion, dizziness. Effects can be felt up to 36 hours later Orally as tablets Usually caused by bladder problems in MS patients. Delays enzymes which regulate blood flow to the penis, thus resulting in better erections. Best results shown when used two hours before stimulation
Tolterodine (Detrusitol) To treat bladder frequency and urgency As required Symptom management Dry mouth. (If pregnant/Breast feeding, seek a doctors advise) Orally as tablets Reduces the action of the chemical messenger that passes to the bladder
Tysabri (natalizumab) (See above – Natalizumab)
Vardenafil (Levitra) To treat erectile dysfunction As required Symptom management Headaches, flushing, upset stomach, visual disorders, nasal congestion, dizziness. Heart/kidney/liver patients use caution. Orally as tablet or solution Usually caused by bladder problems in MS patients. Delays enzymes which regulate blood flow to the penis, thus resulting in better erections. Best results shown when used one hour before sexual activity.
Viagra (Sildenafil Citrate) (See above – Sildenafil Citrate)
Vitamin B12 To treat low Vitamin B12 As required Supplement
Vitamin D To treat low Vitamin D As required Supplement

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