Finding the right MS treatment for you
Understanding your options and choosing your multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment can feel like a daunting task. With multiple treatments available and factors to consider, such as the type of MS you have, the severity of your symptoms and how often they arise, making a decision can be difficult. But it doesn’t need to be. As well as educating yourself on the types of treatment available, it’s essential you also consider the things that are most important to you, such as your personal life goals, priorities and lifestyle. This will help you feel confident and prepared when you discuss your treatment plan with your neurologist.
- How and when you would need to take the treatment
- The pros and cons of the treatment
- How the treatment needs to be stored and prepared
- How long you would need to take the treatment for
- If you need to have any tests or be monitored whilst taking the treatment
- How well your treatment is slowing or preventing the damage MS is causing to your brain
Through early intervention with disease modifying therapies (DMTs), you can help to preserve your brain and potentially prevent progression of your disease, thereby protecting your future. But how do you know which one will work best for you?
There are lots of things to consider when it comes to finding the right treatment for you, because they’re all different. Your options may depend on the type of MS you have, as well as what you want from your life with multiple sclerosis.
You may want to ask your doctor or MS nurse how your options differ in terms of:
Or, if you are already taking a treatment:
Think about how each of the points above could affect your day-to-day life living with MS, and be sure to open up to your neurologist about any worries or concerns you may have. Discussing these topics should help you to get a better idea of what you do and don’t want from your treatment.
Having a clear understanding of your personal life priorities and needs is another essential consideration when it comes to finding the right treatment for you, and setting yourself goals is a great place to start. Make sure you talk to your neurologist about your priorities and goals when discussing treatment options, to make sure your MS is managed in the best way possible for you.
Remember – every person living with MS is different. Finding the right treatment for you requires a strong relationship between you and your neurologist as well as an understanding of your own goals in MS management. Read our advice to help you feel prepared going into your appointment with your neurologist.
There are many reasons why you may contemplate changing your treatment, and it’s not as uncommon as you might think! It can sometimes take time for you to find the treatment that’s right for you. Two common reasons for switching treatments are issues with side effects associated with the treatment, and problems with how effective the treatment is at managing your condition.
Tolerability issues can lead to people living with MS transferring onto a treatment that they experience fewer side effects with or an administration method more suitable for them. Others may find their treatment is not effectively controlling their symptoms and that another treatment may work better.
With such a vast choice of MS treatments, it can be difficult to get your head around all the options available to you and it’s only natural to need some help when making these treatment decisions.
Talk to your neurologist if you’re unhappy with your current MS management plan – it’s only through your neurologist’s understanding of your experience on treatment and your personal goals and priorities that you will find a solution that works for you. Create a Talk to Your Doctor guide to help you prepare for conversations with your doctor.
- MS Trust - Guide to decision making. Available at: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/understanding-ms/ms-symptoms-and-treatments/disease-modifying-drugs-ms-decisions/guide-decision. Last accessed: July 2019.
- Giovannoni G et al. (2017) Brain health: time matters in multiple sclerosis. Available at: http://www.msbrainhealth.org/report. Last accessed: July 2019.
- Disease modifying therapies. Available at: https://www.mssociety.org.uk/ms-resources/disease-modifying-therapies-booklet. Last accessed: October 2017.
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