Multiple sclerosis is a disease which uses your immune system to attack your own body cells. This is also known as an autoimmune disease. What happens is that your T cells view some of the proteins (antigens) in your blood and perceive them as invaders and attack.
The problem is that the cells they attack are within myelin, the protective sheath that envelops nerve fibers. When this happens, lesions form and impair the bodys natural ability to send communications via the nerves to tell the body what to do, where to move and more.
MS is usually not fatal but it can be debilitating in varying degrees and therefore, medications are often needed to combat the symptoms. You will find that there are quite a few kinds of drugs and they fall within several types of categories.
There are interferon drugs which control the immune system as well as a drug called Glatiramer. Steroid therapy is used for controlling relapses of MS and there are other drugs specifically for the spastic, uncontrollable movements. Even Botox can be used in certain instances for treating MS.
Interferon drugs work to help control the immune system. Your body has three normally naturally occurring interferons alpha, beta and gamma – which are proteins in your immune system. Each one of these works in a different way to control various aspects of your immune system and they even have anti-viral properties. So far, scientists have determine that the interferon beta drugs are the best at combating the effects of MS.
The drug Glatiramer is an artificial protein which closely models the naturally occurring myelin protein found in the protective sheath around the nerves. This drug somehow keeps your bodys immune system from attacking the myelin surrounding your nerves, thereby reducing the number of lesions around the brain and spinal cord areas.
Steroids are often used for MS relapses and are taken by IV. When you experience a relapse of MS, your symptoms become more exaggerated and the pain intensifies. With steroids, they ease the pain and reduce inflammation so that you would be able to continue to go about your regular activities. Steroids have some side effects and have been known to cause osteoporosis so extra precautions have to be taken.
Baclofen and Botox
The Baclofen is used to reduce spasticity which is a condition where your muscles become stiff and can reduce your voluntary muscle movements. The Botox works to relax the muscles caused by spasticity. Basically the Botox works to block the release of a substance which tells your muscles to contract. By doing so, this reduces the stiffness or spasticity in the muscles so that you are better able to move.
There are a variety of other medications that work to reduce the severity of multiple sclerosis. Your doctor may prescribe different drugs depending on what stage of MS you have and whether you are in remission or facing a possible relapse. Some do have side effects which may not be worth the effort of taking the drug in the first place. Only you and your doctor can decide which medication for your MS is right for you.