Sunday, September 22, 2013

Treatment Decisions: Is Your MS Stable?

New research suggests that it may be safe to stop taking disease-modifying medication if your MS has been stable for an extended period of time.  In a recent study published in the the journal Arq Neuropsiquiatr, researchers in Brazil followed a group of 40 patients with relapsing-remitting MS for whom their disease had been clinically and radiologically stable for more than five years and who voluntarily chose to stop using disease-modifying therapy.

Patients included in the study had continuously used one of the following immunomodulatory disease-modifying drugs - Avonex, Betaseron, Rebif, Copaxone - for more than 5 years and up to 14 years.  To be included in the study, participants had to be disease-free for at least 5 years while on therapy.  Disease-free activity was defined as no clinical relapse, no sustained increase in disability as measured by EDSS (expanded disability status scale) score, and no new gadolinium-enhancing or active lesions as seen on MRI scans.

Read this post in its entirety:
MS and Medication Decisions: Can I stop taking my disease-modifying drug and still be okay?


  1. This wouldn't be allowed in the US. They stopped placebo only studies because they did worse than with one drug. I had exacerbation every 2 Years until meds. Now 6 years without exacerbation.

    1. Good point about this type of study not being allowed in the US. My MS was very active during the months before and after diagnosis with 3 identifiable relapses within 8-9 months. After starting Copaxone, I didn't have a significant relapse for about 2 years. Then things got wacky and I searched for a new treatment (i.e. Rituxan).

      When we were stretching rounds of treatment for as many months as possible during those first couple of years, I experienced relapses. Now, my symptoms begin to increase predictably around 7-8 months after treatment so we don't put it too long before the next round.

      I'm a patient that needs to stay on disease-modifying therapy otherwise my diseases (both MS and RA) become much more active. Not worth the risk of stopping therapy in my opinion.

      I'm sure there are many more patients like us who wouldn't consider stopping therapy.