MS Treatments

Treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) is as varied as the condition. As a National Multiple Sclerosis Society Center for Comprehensive MS Care, the Norton Neuroscience Institute Hussung Family Multiple Sclerosis Center provides a comprehensive range of treatment options, rehabilitation, outpatient therapies and home treatment. As part of the comprehensive care, patients can access the full range of educational and support services of Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Centers.

Neuroimmunologists like those at the Hussung Family Multiple Sclerosis Center specialize in treating conditions like MS that involve both the nervous and immune systems.

Treatment for MS falls into three broad categories: recovery from MS attacks, slowing the disease’s progression and relief from symptoms.

Treatment for MS Relapses

Many MS relapses gradually will improve and don’t require treatment. When relapse symptoms affect your ability to function, including seeing and walking, your specialist may prescribe high doses of steroids to help ease symptoms.

Steroids often are prescribed as daily tablets for about a week or daily infusions for a shorter course. Steroids suppress the immune system and ease the inflammation at the site of nerve damage.

For patients whose relapse symptoms don’t respond sufficiently to steroids, plasmapheresis may be an option. Plasmapheresis, completed while the patient is admitted to a hospital, separates the red and white blood cells from the plasma and replaces the cells back into the bloodstream with a plasma exchange fluid.

Plasmapheresis has been found to successfully treat some autoimmune diseases by removing certain antibodies. While the procedure has not been found to be effective for modifying MS, it has been found to help relieve MS relapse symptoms.

Treatment to Slow the Progression of MS

The development of new medications to slow the progression of MS has been rapid in recent years.

Ocrelizumab is the only medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for primary progressive MS, which affects about 15% of MS patients. But overall, there are more than 20 medications approved by the FDA for various types of MS.

The complexity of the disease and the ever-expanding options of drugs for MS require the care of MS specialists who are experienced with the newest treatments as well as established options to find a personalized match of therapy and your unique case of MS.

Factors that your neuroimmunologist will consider when matching your condition with a treatment include:

  • The type of MS — primary progressive, clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting or secondary progressive
  • Your age
  • Aggressiveness of your disease
  • Whether you are planning to become pregnant
  • Medical history, such as cardiac conditions, infections and cancer
  • Method of administration (self-injectables, oral medications and intravenous infusions)
  • History of adherence to treatment
    • Some medications need to be taken daily.
    • For those who tend to miss daily dosages, less-frequent options are available.
  • Risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy — a potentially fatal brain infection — based on whether a blood test shows a specific virus (known as JC virus) in your system
  • Insurance requirements (Some insurance providers require first-line, traditional or standard treatments to fail before escalating to other medications.)

Drugs for MS

Lower-efficacy medications: interferons, glatiramer acetate and teriflunomide

Moderate efficacy: Dimethyl fumarate and diroximel fumarate, sphingosine-1 phosphate receptor modulators fingolimod and zonisamide

Higher efficacy: natalizumab, alemtuzumab, cladribine; and the B-cell therapies ocrelizumab, ofatumumab and rituximab

MS Symptom Treatment

In addition to clinical treatments, many activities that promote symptom management are available through Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Centers.

Integrative symptom management – Norton Neuroscience Institute MS providers pursue a combination of approaches to address MS symptoms. Conventional treatments include medication, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, water therapy and assistive devices. Unconventional therapies include exercise, tai chi, yoga, guided imagery, meditation, mindfulness, lifestyle changes and mind-body strategies that can improve bladder symptoms, fatigue, gait issues and pain.

Behavioral medicine – MS can shift your life in ways that can make it unrecognizable. It can affect your work, your role in the family and your independence. The result can be anxiety, depression, grief, stress and other mental health conditions. Mental health intervention can help prevent overall MS symptoms as well as mental health symptoms from worsening.

Medication – Various drugs are available to reduce fatigue, improve walking speed and spasticity. Baclofen is a frequently used spasticity medication, and Botox injections can provide short-term relaxation of targeted muscles.

Rehabilitation – Guided exercise can promote overall conditioning, reducing fatigue and improving overall function at home and at work. Rehabilitation can help with mobility, personal care, driving and daily functioning. Norton Neurosciences & Spine Rehabilitation Center and its gait lab provide comprehensive, personalized care.

Clinical Trials – New treatments for MS are constantly on the horizon. As principal investigators on MS-related clinical trials, our physicians often have some of the deepest experience with newly approved discoveries and can provide access to potentially breakthrough experimental treatments.

Atención que está centrada en usted

Parte del objetivo del Norton Neuroscience Institute consiste en atender a la persona en su totalidad, no solo a la afección.

  • Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Centers offer ways to improve your access to care, provide valuable information on managing your disease and address your quality of life issues. The Norton Healthcare Foundation funds this important service, so patients don’t need to pay.
  • Dedicated patient navigators can help schedule follow-up appointments, coordinate prescription assistance, create customized diet plans and provide guidance on disability benefits, housing, financial and employment concerns and more.
  • Patients can access support groups, exercise classes and other educational events to connect with others and learn how to make the most of life while managing a neurological condition. 
  • Access an on-demand video library of educational content across a variety of condition-related topics is available.
  • We want to help prevent illness. Get help quitting smoking and learn the signs of stroke.
  • Communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more anytime from a computer or mobile device with a free Norton MyChart account.

Un líder de Louisville en atención neurológica

More patients from Louisville and Southern Indiana seek their neurology and neurosurgery care from Norton Neuroscience Institute’s nationally recognized specialists than any other providers in the area.

Your Norton Neuroscience Institute medical provider has the expertise, experience, diagnostic tools and sophisticated treatments to provide care tailored to your needs.

  • More than 75 medical, surgical and research specialists are dedicated to providing innovative care to those with brain, spine and nervous system conditions.
  • Advanced, minimally invasive neurosurgery equipment can speed your recovery and minimize pain.
  • Multidisciplinary clinics provide easy access to care in one convenient appointment for your neurological condition, with specialists in oncology, cardiology, orthopedics and behavioral health.
  • Norton Healthcare’s four adult-service hospitals in Louisville are certified by DNV, recognizing excellence and expertise in stroke care.
    • Norton Brownsboro Hospital is recognized as a Comprehensive Stroke Center.
    • Norton Audubon Hospital and Norton Hospital are Primary Stroke Centers.
    • Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital is an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital.
  • Norton Neuroscience Institute is at the forefront of neuroscientific research. As investigators on numerous trials, our physicians contribute to groundbreaking studies and publications in peer-reviewed journals. Also, patients may be eligible to take part in these experimental treatments.
    Learn more about current neuroscience clinical trials and studies.
  • The American Heart Association Get With the Guidelines stroke care program has recognized all four of Norton Healthcare’s adult service-hospitals in Louisville for exceeding national averages in getting patients in the door and administering lifesaving treatment to restore blood flow to the brain.
  • El programa de esclerosis múltiple (EM) del Norton Neuroscience Institute ha sido designado como centro para la atención integral de la EM por la National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  • The National Association of Epilepsy Centers has recognized Norton Neuroscience Institute as a Level 4 Epilepsy Center, providing the highest level of medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy.
  • Los orientadores del centro de recursos del Norton Neuroscience Institute ayudan a educar a los pacientes y sus familias sobre los nuevos diagnósticos, los tratamientos disponibles y las formas de controlar su enfermedad.
  • We are listed by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of 100 great neurosurgery and spine programs.

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