Prescription and nonprescription medications for MS

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Several types of medications are used to help alleviate and manage symptoms associated with MS. The main categories of medication include disease-modifying treatments, corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, antihistamines, benzodiazepines, muscle relaxants, anti-nausea medications, and anti-inflammatory drugs. The following provides an overview of medications used to address MS symptoms.

 

Medications for treating symptoms that affect movement and mobility

A range of common symptoms in MS affect a person’s ability to move and stay mobile. These symptoms affect use of motor movements and large muscle groups and generally include fatigue, spasticity, muscle weakness, balance problems, and paroxysmal symptoms.

Medications for treating symptoms that affect movement and mobility

Tremor
Anticonvulsant
Klonopin (US), Rivotril (CAN) (clonazepam), Diamox (acetazolamide), Mysoline (primidone)
Beta blocker
Inderal (propranolol)
Hypnotic sedative
Doriden (glutethimide)
Anti-anxiety
Buspar (buspirone)
Tuberculosis medication
Tubizid, Laniazid, Nydrazid (isoniazid)
Anti-nausea
Zofran (ondansetron)
Antihistamine
Atarax or Vistaril (hydroxyzine)
Paroxysmal symptoms
Anticonvulsant
Neurontin (gabapentin), Depakote (valproic acid), Tegretol (carbamazepine), Dilantin (phenytoin), Lyrica (pregabalin), Gabitril (tiagabine), Keppra (levetiracetam), Trileptal (oxcarbazepine)
Fatigue
Antiviral
Symmetrel (amantadine)
Antidepressant
Prozac (fluoxetine)
Analeptic
Provigil (modafinil)
Spasticity
Neurotoxin
Botox (onabotulinumtoxin A)
Muscle relaxant
Dantrium (dantrolene), Zanaflex (tizanidine), Lioresal (baclofen), Gablofen (baclofen) (intrathecal)
Benzodiazepines
Valium (diazepam), Klonopin (US), Rivotril (CAN) (clonazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Xanax (alprazolam)
Anticonvulsant
Neurontin (gabapentin), Klonopin (clonazepam)
Balance problems
Vitamin
Niacin
Antihistamines
Walking
Potassium channel blocker
Ampyra (dalfampridine)

 

Medications for sensory disturbance symptoms

The process of demyelination and resulting nerve damage in MS can cause sensory disturbances, including vision problems, pain, dizziness, and numbness in limbs and other body surfaces.

Medications for treating sensory disturbances

Numbness and tingling
Corticosteroid
Anticonvulsant
Neurontin (gabapentin)
Optic neuritis
Corticosteroid
Solu Medrol (methylprednisolone) (IV)
Uncontrolled eye movements (nystagmus)
Cortiocosteroids (IV or oral)
Anticonvulsant
Neurontin (gabapentin), Klonopin (clonazepam)
Muscle relaxant
Lioresal (baclofen)
Anti-nausea medication
Transdermal scopolamine
Double vision (diplopia)
Corticosteroids
Dizziness or vertigo
Corticosteroids
Cortisone injection
Antihistamines
Antivert® (meclizine), Dramamine® (dimenhydrinate), Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
Benzodiazepines
Valium (diazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Xanax (alprazolam)
Pain of spasticity
NSAIDs
Ibuprofen
Dysesthesias
Anticonvulsant
Neurontin (gabapentin), Lyrica (pregabalin)
Antidepressant
Elavil (amytriptyline) (tricyclic)
Anticonvulsant
Dilantin (phenytoin)
Trigeminal neuralgia
Anticonvulsant
Tegretol (carbamazepine), Dilantin (phenytoin)
Itching (pruritis)
Antihistamines
Atarax or Vistaril (hydroxyzine)
Antidepressant
Cymbalta (duloxetine HLC) (SNRI), Elavil (amytriptyline) (tricyclic)
Anticonvulsant
Neurontin (gabapentin)
Lhermitte’s sign
Anticonvulsant
Tegretol (carbamazepine), Dilantin (phenytoin)
Pain (parasthesias)
Antidepressant
Pamelor (US), Aventyl (CAN) (nortriptyline) (tricyclic)
Benzodiazepine
Klonopin (US), Rivotril (CAN) (clonazepam)
Antidepressant
Elavil (amytriptyline) (tricyclic)

 

Medications for treating bladder and bowel problems

Bladder and bowel problems, including incontinence, problems with frequency, and loss of control are common in MS. Additionally, secondary problems, such as urinary tract infections (UTI) can result as a complication of MS.

Medications for treating bladder and bowel problems

Bladder problems
Anticholinergics
Detrol (tolterodine), Vesicare (solifenacin), Ditropan (oxybutynin), Oxytrol (oxybutynin transdermal), Sanctura (trospium)
Antimuscarinic
Enablex (darifenacin), Pro-Banthine (propantheline)
Antidepressants
Tofranil (imipramine) (tricyclic)
Neurotoxin
Botox (onabotulinumtoxin A)
Synthetic vasopressin
DDAVP (desmopressin)
Alpha blockers
Flomax (tamsulosin), Minipress (prazosin), Hytrin (terazosin)
Urinary tract infections
Antibiotic
Bactrim or Septra (trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole), Cipro (ciprofloxacin), Hiprex (methenamine) Macrodantin (nitrofurantoin)
Constipation
Over-the-counter nonprescription products
Mineral oil , Fleet Enema (sodium phosphate), Colace (docusate), Dulcolax (bisacodyl), Enemeez Mini Enema (docusate stool softener-laxative), Metamucil (psyllium hydrophilic muciloid), Sani-Supp suppository (glycerin), Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia (magnesium hydroxide)

 

Medications for treating cognitive, emotional, and sexual problems

Many people with MS experience cognitive, emotional, and sexual problems. A variety of medications are used to manage these symptoms.

Medications for treating cognitive, emotional, and sexual problems

Cognitive impairment
Immunomodulator
Copaxone (glatiramer acetate)
Interferon beta drugs
Betaseron (interferon beta-1b), Rebif (interferon beta-1a), Avonex (interferon beta-1a)
Memory problems
Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor
Aricept (donepezil)
Pseudobulbar affect
CNS agent
Neudexta (dextromethorphan /quinidine)
Depression
Antidepressants
Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Effexor (venlafaxine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Wellbutrin (bupropion HCl), Serzone (nefazodone), Desyrel (trazodone
Anxiety
Benzodiazepines
Valium (diazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Xanax (alprazolam)
Antidepressants
Zoloft (sertraline), Effexor (venlafaxine), Wellbutrin (bupropion HCl)
Erectile dysfunction
Buspar (buspirone)
Sexual Problems
PDE-5 inhibitors
Viagra (sildenafil), Levitra (vardenafil), Cialis (tadalafil)
Prostaglandin E1
Prostin VR (alprostadil), MUSE (alprostadil)
Vasodilator
Papaverine