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Robert Clay asked...

Would you recommend Medrone for MS?

Would you recommend Methylprednisolone 100mg for MS?

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The answer

Multiple sclerosis or MS is thought to be an auto-immune condition. This means that your body’s own immune system, which normally helps you to fight off infection, recognises part of the body as ‘foreign’ and attacks it. In multiple sclerosis, the victims are the myelin sheaths which insulate nerves in different parts of the body. It usually starts in early adult life and affects about 1 in 1,000 people over a lifetime. It can also run in families – 1 in 5 sufferers from MS have a family member affected.

There are a variety of treatment options for MS. Most people with MS have the ‘relapsing remitting’ variety, where acute episodes of (often severe and debilitating) symptoms punctuate periods of complete normality. In time, scar tissue builds up at the sites of inflammation and, after acute episodes have settled down, there are still some remaining symptoms. Steroids such as methylprednisolone are used in a wide variety of inflammatory and auto-immune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This is because they act partly by reducing inflammation and the activity of the immune system. Short (e.g. 5 day) courses of very high dose methylprednisolone can reduce the severity and duration of acute attacks, which is when they tend to be used. Other drugs which act on the immune system, such as beta interferon, can be used in the longer term to reduce the frequency of relapses, as can other medications such as glatiramer.

While I cannot give a recommendation for drug treatment without knowing all the specifics of any one case, I can confirm that methylprednisolone is a widely recommended treatment for acute relapses (although often given at higher doses of up to 500mg/day for 5 days).

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