Treatment & ongoing care
Everyone with MS will need some degree of care, intervention & support throughout life.1 Receiving the right treatment & care as early as possible is critical. In the UK people with MS still face challenges accessing specialist care.2,3,4,5
There is currently no cure for MS, but it is possible to treat the symptoms with medications and other types of treatments. The treatment required will depend on the specific symptoms and difficulties experienced.6
There are ways of managing primary progressive MS (PPMS), including symptom management, prevention of complications and promoting general health and wellbeing. 7
With regards to treatments, a number of drugs are in development (for PPMS) testing to see if they can prevent disability progression.7
The treatment regime in MS may focus on:
- Treating specific MS symptoms. Many symptoms can be helped by seeing a therapist or receiving medication. 6
- Treating relapses of MS symptoms (with steroid medication). Although steroids won't prevent further relapses or stop MS getting worse over time, they can help to speed up recovery from a relapse. 6
- Treatment to address the number of relapses and rate of disease progression (disease-modifying therapies).6
As part of the care programme, a multidisciplinary team will be available; these may include a neurologist (specialist in treating conditions of the nervous system), a physiotherapist and a speech and language therapist.6
DISEASE MODIFYING TREATMENTS (DMTS)
Disease Modifying Treatments (DMTs) are the first and only medical treatment for RRMS.1
Only 21% of people in the UK receive DMTs, one of the lowest rates in Europe.8 This is despite the benefits of taking DMT:
- They can reduce the frequency of relapses.1,8
- Newer DMTs have been proven to delay the onset of disability.1,8
With an increasing number of DMTs becoming available, it is more important than ever that people talk to an MS specialist as soon as possible after diagnosis about the treatment option that would best suit them.
In order to ensure the right treatment at the right time, monitoring disease progression is an important aspect of ongoing care for people with MS.
- Currently MS progression is measured by the number of lesions on the brain and a physical exam using the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS).
- EDSS is the most commonly used tool by HCPs but less than a quarter use it at every consultation.9
- Many HCPs rely on assessing disability progression simply via visual observation: 96% of MS nurses use ‘visual appearance’ the most to assess disability.9