When it comes to treatment, multiple sclerosis is a disorder that needs to be addressed at two different aspects. One is treating the underlying immune disorder and another involves treatments aimed at relieving or modifying the symptoms. The first is called immunomodulatory therapy or IMT. This therapy focuses on decreasing the number of times a relapse occurs and slowing the progression of the disorder. Every agent that can modify the disease can, currently, only be used as a relapsing multiple sclerosis treatments.
If diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in a relapsed form, the patient is started on relapsing multiple sclerosis treatment with a disease modifying drug that is FDA approved. The same applies to people who first experience a clinical occurrence that symptomizes multiple sclerosis. Treatment with drugs that modify the disease can be continued for as long as necessary unless the individual does not respond to the drug, has a poor response to the drug, develops side effects to the drug that is intolerable or does not have the drug in the manner prescribed to him. Of course, treatment with the disease modifying drug can also be discontinued should a better option become available to treat multiple sclerosis.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved Gilenya as an oral multiple sclerosis drug to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis in the year 2010. Data showed that it decreases relapses by half and also slows the progression of the disease. The whole idea of treating multiple sclerosis is to slow down the progression of the disease since it cannot be cured, as of now. Teriflunomide is a drug that does this. It is what you would call a disease modifying drug. The FDA approved it in the year 2012. Reports showed that the drug significantly decreased the progression of illness and when given in increased doses, further reduced progression. This was the second oral drug for multiple sclerosis to be approved by the FDA. Another disease modifying drug is Dimethyl Fumarate. Approved for use in the year 2013, it stops the immune system from attacking itself, which is how the myelin is destroyed. It protects the body in a way similar to how antioxidants protect the body. This drug is a capsule.