For U.S. Residents Only
Kim

Nurse Kim Asks...

There is no single “best treatment” for relapsing multiple sclerosis. Just as everyone’s MS is different, their lifestyles and treatment preferences are different as well. You need to take medications as they’re prescribed, so if you don’t think you can follow the dosing schedule, or you don’t like how it’s taken, it might not be the best choice for you. It’s important to work with your healthcare team to figure out which treatment is right for you. How did you and your healthcare provider weigh the benefits and risks of all your treatment options?

Pam Answers...

The importance of weighing treatment benefits and risks

Conversations that I have had with my healthcare provider, regarding my treatment options, were usually sparked by my doubts about whether I was on the right one.

I tend to ask a lot of questions, so at first, I felt like I was taking up too much of my healthcare provider’s time. But I can’t stress it enough, it is really important to make the most of your appointment and to ask the right questions, even if they are difficult and embarrassing ones. To guide you to the right treatment, your healthcare provider needs to know what your thoughts are and what questions you have.

I usually would start out by asking, “Is this normal?”

MS Ambassador, Pam

It’s your responsibility to make the ultimate decision on which is the best treatment for you. However, you can lean heavily on your healthcare provider by asking them to help you review the product information—wading through the pros and cons of each medication. That’s the beauty of having this discussion; you can make sure you are getting the whole picture. It’s encouraged to do your own research, but you shouldn’t run with that information alone. Write down any questions that come up, as you are fact finding, and take these questions to your appointment.

These are some of the questions I have asked my doctor:

  • What side effects have your other patients on this medication reported?
  • How long should it take for the medication to take effect?
  • How will I know if it is working for me?
  • Will I be able to take my medication with my work schedule?
  • What precautions do I need to take while on this treatment?
  • How often should I follow up with my healthcare team?
  • If questions about my symptoms arise, will there be support available 24/7, so I can call anytime? 
  • Will I be able to travel? If so, should I be aware of any precautions while traveling through an airport?

Based on the answers to these questions, it will be your personal decision, based on your personal lifestyle. What side effects are you personally willing accept?

Don’t ever give up on trying different treatments until you find the one that works best for you. Never forget, what might not work for one person, might work for you. Having the courage to keep trying to find the one that does work for you, will get you where you want to go.

See What Connie Says
Connie Answers...

The importance of weighing treatment benefits and risks

The relationship that you have with your healthcare provider is imperative to the maintenance of your multiple sclerosis. If you do not have an open, honest, and trusting relationship with them, consider looking for another provider.

Relapsing multiple sclerosis patient, Connie

One of the things that you and your healthcare provider should explore together is the relapsing MS medication that you are currently taking. Together you should compare it to other available treatments. Make sure that you weigh all of the benefits and risks of each medication prior to making a decision. Over the last 20 years, the number of treatment options for people with MS has grown significantly. In fact, there are now more than 15 different disease-modifying treatments to choose from. With more choices, it’s even more important to look at each treatment option to be sure you are choosing the right one for you. 

You should consider how effective it is when it comes to reducing frequency and severity of relapses, slowing the development of new lesions, and the slowing in disability progression.   

People attending an MS informational session

In addition, you must review the side effects of the medications, how the medication and its delivery will fit into your life, ease of access, cost, and your personal comfort level. 

Only after looking into all of these aspects, which can be done through conversations with your healthcare provider, reading reputable information, attending informational sessions, and talking with your support network, should you make the decision of which medication is best for you at this time of your life.

Continue to have good communication with your healthcare provider. You should share any side effects or concerns that you have with them, as well as be open to hearing what they say to you. We all know MS is unpredictable and ever changing, and the right decision today may not be the right decision 5 years from now. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about your concerns and questions.

See What Pam Says
Kim

Nurse Kim Sums It Up

As you can see, there are many things to consider when you’re deciding on a relapsing MS treatment. You should find a treatment that you will be able to stick with and that you and your healthcare provider feel is most appropriate for you. And as Connie said, your treatment may change. A treatment that works for you now might not be right for you forever. So work closely with your healthcare provider and make sure they are aware of any changes in your symptoms and life. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by all of these decisions. Do your research, but ask what your healthcare provider recommends as well. There is no such thing as a dumb question when it comes to your health.

When you’re making your decision, use our Doctor Discussion Guide to get the most out of your appointments. Be well!

Continue the Conversation

Dick

I have had ms for forty years. I have wanted to meet other people for a long time.

Dick

I have had ms for forty years. I have wanted to meet other people for a long time.

We're glad you want to get involved, Dick. It may be helpful to find some support in an area near you. Visit https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Resources-Support/Find-Support to see what the National MS Society has available. We hope this helps.

Sign up for MS One to One today and call 1‑855‑676‑6326.
Sign up now

Related Content