Disease Modifying Treatments

If you were diagnosed over 25 years ago, your options for long term MS treatments were nonexistent.  In the mid to late 1990’s subcutaneous injections were introduced to the marketplace as the first disease modifying therapies (DMT’s) available to anyone with MS.  Today there are 19 FDA approved therapies, including injectables, oral treatments, and intravenous infusions. And now in 2020 a few of the DMT’s have a generic version of the original release.

With the range of choices, you are not only choosing based on known side effects, your own health background and your individual symptoms; you also need to consider life style practices that will determine your compliance to any long-term therapy you choose.  For instance, if you are not able to miss 4-6 hours of work in a chunk, maybe infusions are not the right choice for you.  Understand that you can discuss therapy experiences with different people who have tried them, but medications react differently in each person, so one person’s experience may not be yours.  How your disease responds may be totally different than how someone else’s responds.  Having frank, open discussions with your neurologist and health care team as you are navigating decisions regarding any changes you may need to make, communicating symptoms or side-effects you may experience is a critical aspect to long term success for treatment.

Injectable Therapies

  1. Avonex® launched by Biogen 1996
  2. Betaseron® launched by Bayer 1993
  3. Copaxone® launched by Teva 1997
  4. Extavia® launched by Novartis 2009
  5. Glatopa® launched by Novartis (Sandoz) 2018
  6. Plegridy® launched by Biogen 2014
  7. Rebif® launched by EMD Serono 1998
  8. Zinbryta® launched by Biogen 2016, withdrawn 2018
  9.  Kesimpta® launched by Novartis 2020

Oral Therapies

  1. Aubagio® launched by Sanofi Genzyme 2012
  2. Gilenya® launched by Novartis 2010
  3. Tecfidera® launched by Biogen 2013
  4. Mayzent® launched by Novartis 2019
  5. Mavenclad® launched by EMD SERONO 2019
  6. Vumerity® launched by Alkermes with Biogen 2019
  7. Bafiertam® launched by Biogen 2020
  8. Zeposia® launched by Bristol Myer Squibb 2020

Infusion Therapies

  1. Ocrevus® launched by Genentech 2017
  2. Tysabri® launched by Biogen 2006
  3. Lemtrada® launched by Sanofi Genzyme 2014

This National MS Society website link takes you to an excellent brochure that provides detail on each of these treatments, their side effects, dosages and company information.  They also provide links to industry sponsored sites for patient information and any offered financial assistance.



Managing symptoms


Below are common symptoms of MS and some of the medications used to treat those symptoms.


Bladder Problems




Bowel Dysfunction


Dizziness and Vertigo

Emotional Changes

  • Nuedexta (dextromethorphan + quinidine)




Sexual Problems



Walking (Gait) Difficulties