Every patient has a unique treatment plan that can range from medications, infusion treatment, and rehabilitation therapies that help manage symptoms. 

Our comprehensive MS center includes experienced, highly trained clinicians who are expert in the care and management of MS. Different treatments are available to limit and possibly halt new central nervous system injury, treat acute attacks, eliminate or control symptoms and help patients rehabilitate. Medical treatments are complemented by patient education, health maintenance and strategies to improve the overall well-being for people living with MS, in collaboration with dedicated nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, and clinicians from specialties throughout Penn.

To date, there is no known cure for multiple sclerosis. There are, however, treatments that may limit new disease activity and CNS injury as well as help control or prevent symptoms of MS. The goal of treatment is to help manage symptoms and optimize quality of life. Injectable, oral and infused medications can all be used as a part of the treatment plan.

Disease modifying Treatments (DMTs):markowitz

The goal of DMTs for MS is to limit new MS injury by preventing relapses and by slowing the processes that contribute to progressive worsening of disability. Commonly used DMTs for MS include:

  • Injectables such as Interferon betas and glatiramer acetate
  • Oral therapies
  • Infused medications such as monoclonal antibodies

Treatment for acute relapses:

The goal of acute relapse treatment is mainly to promote more rapid recovery from the new attack. While treatments for acute relapses can help the patient recover faster, they do not seem to make a big difference to the extent of recovery from the relapse. This is why not all MS relapses are treated acutely.

  • Corticosteroids the are most commonly used medication in acute attacks
  • Occasionally plasmapheresis or IV immunogloblulins (IVIG) are used

Symptomatic treatments:

The goal of symptomatic treatments for MS is to eliminate or control bothering symptoms.

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Treatments include:

  • Muscle relaxants
  • Potassium channel blockers
  • Botox injections
  • Medications that relieve muscle spasms, urinary problems, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, or depression.

Rehabilitation:

Important complement to medical treatment that takes on a global view of maximizing the person’s function, activities of daily living and quality of life. Approaches include:

  • Exercise Programs 
  • Energy Management 
  • Nutrition Programs 
  • Physical Therapy 
  • Speech Therapy 
  • Occupational Therapy

The Penn Comprehensive MS Center offers additional patient services including:

  • Care for MS across the age span, in collaboration with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
  • Access to an onsite outpatient infusion clinic for intravenous medication administration.
  • MS dedicated pharmacist who will answer medication questions and counsel new patients.
  • MS dedicated social worker to help you or a family member cope.
  • Support groups for patient education and continued therapy.
  • Training and support for symptom management, self-injection of immunomodulatory therapies, and counseling.

MS has become a highly manageable condition with therapeutic approaches that can both effectively eliminate or control bothersome symptoms, as well as limit new attacks and ongoing injury to the central nervous system.

Research and Clinical Trials for MS

Research conducted by members of the Penn MS Program and the Center for Neuroinflammation and Neurotherapeutics addresses a broad range of key questions related to MS and MS therapies. Ongoing projects span and bridge across fundamental laboratory research, translational (clinical, imaging, biomarker) studies, clinical outcomes research as well as clinical trials with both existing and innovative therapies. Our program, which integrates both adult and pediatric clinicians and researchers, provides a unique opportunity to tackle questions about MS and MS therapies across the age-span.

We continue with efforts to better understand genetic and environmental factors that lead to the development of MS, elucidate the immunological and neurobiological mechanisms that contribute to injury underlying both relapsing and progressive forms of MS, define the cellular and molecular responses required to achieve repair of the central nervous system, and explore exciting new treatment strategies aimed at halting and ultimately reversing damage from MS. Our Center also cares for, and carries out cutting edge research into, other conditions in which the immune system attacks the nervous system, or where immune treatments of other conditions produce neurological complications. This provides an opportunity for discoveries in one disease context, and to inform the care and research for other conditions.

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