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Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the human immune system destroys the protective coating covering the nerves (myelin sheath). This process breaks the relationship between the brain and the rest of the body. Ultimately, the nerves themselves are damaged, and this is an irreversible process.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis differ depending on the degree and place of damage to the nervous system. In severe cases, patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis may lose the ability to walk and talk. Diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is difficult in the early stages, as the symptoms of the disease can appear and disappear - sometimes even for months.
Treatment of multiple sclerosis has not yet been developed, however, it is now possible to prevent the exacerbation of the disease, change the course of the disease and alleviate the symptoms.
The signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis can vary significantly depending on the location of damaged nerve fibers. Among the symptoms of multiple sclerosis are the following:
Many patients with multiple sclerosis, especially at the initial stages of the disease, experience relapses of symptoms, which are accompanied by periods of complete or partial remission. The signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis often appear or increase with an increase in body temperature.
The exact causes of multiple sclerosis are unknown. It is believed that this is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys its own tissues. With multiple sclerosis during this process, myelin is destroyed - a special layer that covers and protects the nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord.
Myelin can be compared with insulation on electrical cables. When the layer of myelin is damaged, the transfer of impulses that go along this nerve can be slowed down or blocked.
Doctors and researchers do not understand why multiple sclerosis occurs in some people, but others do not. A combination of factors, such as genetic predisposition and childhood infections, can play a role.
In some cases, patients with multiple sclerosis may also have:
Multiple sclerosis is not curable. Treatment, as a rule, is aimed at combating attacks, changing the course of the disease and alleviating the symptoms. Some patients have symptoms so minor that they do not require treatment.
Corticosteroids. The most common type of treatment for multiple sclerosis - the use of corticosteroids, helps reduce the inflammatory process, which worsens during an attack. Examples are treatment with prednisolone, administered orally, and methylprednisolone - intravenously. Side effects can manifest in the form of high blood pressure, mood swings and weight gain. Long-term use can provoke cataracts, high blood sugar and an increased risk of viral infections.
Plasmapheresis. The method of treatment is similar to dialysis, since it mechanically separates blood cells from the plasma, the liquid part of the blood. Plasmapheresis is sometimes used to help cope with the severe symptoms of multiple sclerosis during crises in people who do not respond to intravenous steroids.
Beta-interferons. Medications such as Avonex, Betaseron, Ecstavia and Rebif slow the rate of worsening of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Interferons can cause certain side effects, including liver damage, so it will be necessary to conduct blood tests to monitor hepatic enzymes.
Glatiramer (Copaxone). Glatiramer (Copakson). Doctors believe that glatiramer blocks the effect of the immune system on the destruction of the myelin layer of the nerve. It is administered once a day subcutaneously. Among the side effects of hyperemia and difficulty breathing after injection.
Fingolimod (Gilenya). Fingolimod (Gyllenia). The drug is taken orally once a day, the action is based on the retention of immune cells in the lymph nodes. The drug reduces seizures of multiple sclerosis and short-term disability. When taking this medication, you need to monitor your heartbeat within six hours after the first dose, because the first dose can slow your heartbeat (bradycardia). Also you should have immunity against chicken pox (varicella zoster virus). Other side effects are high blood pressure and blurred vision.
Natalizumab (Tysabri). Natalizumab (Tiszabri). This drug is designed to withstand the movement of immune cells from the bloodstream to the brain and spinal cord. Tisabri is usually prescribed to people who do not have results from other treatments or those who are not suitable for other therapies, as Tisabree increases the risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy of a brain infection with a fatal outcome.
Mitoxantrone (Novantrone). Mitoxantrone (Novantron). An immunosuppressant that can be harmful to the heart and is associated with the development of blood cancer, such as leukemia. It is usually used only in severe cases of multiple sclerosis.