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Disease modifying therapies

Disease-modifying therapies are medications that your neurologist may prescribe to treat MS. Disease-modifying therapies work with different parts of the immune system to reduce the inflammation caused by MS to nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. This can help reduce the number and severity of relapses and some of these medications have been shown to delay progression of MS. You can find out more about these medications by downloading our fact sheets and speaking with your neurologist.

Avonex (interferon beta 1A)

Betaferon (interferon beta-1b)

Copaxone (glatiramer acetate)

  • Can be used to stop the body from attacking myelin (the protective layer of nerves).
  • Can reduce the frequency of relapses and delay the progression of the condition.
  • Taken three times a week (40 milligrams per dose).
  • Available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
  • This information was sourced from MS Australia's Copaxone page.

Gilenya (fingolimod)

  • Prevents white blood cells (called lymphocytes) from reaching the central nervous system, which reduces damage to the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
  • This can reduce the frequency of relapses and delay the progression of MS.
  • Taken daily as a tablet.
  • Available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
  • This information was sourced from MS Australia's Gilenya page.

Kesimpta (ofatumumab)

  • Can reduce the frequency of relapses and delay the progression of MS.
  • It binds to B lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) that makes antibodies and is a part of the immune system.
  • A self-administered injection that’s usually in the thigh, upper outer arm or the stomach.
  • Available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
  • This information was sourced from MS Australia's Kesimpta page.

Lemtrada (alemtuzumab)

  • Helps the immune system by preventing damage to lymphocytes (white blood cells) and repopulating them.
  • This can reduce the frequency of relapses and delay the progression of MS.
  • Taken as an intravenous infusion (medication is delivered as a fluid directly into the bloodstream).
  • Available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
  • This information was sourced from MS Australia's Lemtrada page.

MAVENCLAD (cladribine tablets)

Mayzent (Siponimod)

Ocrevus (ocrelizumab)

Plegridy (pegylated interferon beta 1a)

  • Interferons are proteins naturally found in the body that help fight infections and regulate the immune system.
  • Plegridy can help regulate the immune system, reducing attacks on nerves or myelin – the protective layer around nerves.
  • Injected once every two weeks.
  • Available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
  • This information was sourced from MS Australia's Plegridy page.

Rebif (interferon beta 1a)

  • Interferons are proteins naturally found in the body that help fight infections and regulate the immune system.
  • Rebif can help regulate the immune system, reducing attacks on myelin – the protective layer around nerves in the central nervous system.
  • Taken as an injection three times a week.
  • This information was sourced from MS Australia's Rebif page.

Teriflunomide

Tysabri (natalizumab)

Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate)

Vumerity (diroximel fumarate)

Zeposia (Ozanimod)

Other medications of interest

Botox (botulinum toxin type A)

  • Can be used to relax the muscles.
  • Is often used to treat people experiencing muscle spasticity in one specific region of the body or for urinary incontinence.
  • Injected directly into the muscle for spasticity.
  • Injected into the bladder wall for incontinence.
  • This information was sourced from MS Australia's Botox page.

Fampyra (fampridine)

  • Can be used to improve walking and movement in adults with MS.
  • It’s a potassium chain blocker, which is thought to let signals pass through the nerves more normally.
  • Taken as a tablet.
  • This information was sourced from MS Australia's Fampyra page.

Sativex (nabiximols)

  • Made from cannabis extracts called cannabinoids.
  • Used to treat muscle stiffness (spasticity) in MS when other medicines haven’t worked.
  • Taken as a mouth spray.
  • This information was sourced from MS Australia's Sativex page.

Summary of MS treatments

MS Australia has a summary of DMT treatments available in Australia.

Generic medications

This page has been reviewed and approved by Executive Manager Client Engagement and Wellbeing Jodi Haartsen. Jodi is a registered MS Nurse who has helped thousands of patients over her 20 years’ experience at Eastern Health MS service in Australia, in several roles including nurse educator, research nurse and nurse practitioner. Jodi is the 2022 winner of the global MS Brain Health Leader Award in the Independent Healthcare Professionals category.

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