What is multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder affecting the central nervous system. The immune system attacks the nerves of the brain and spinal cord. Body movements may become slow or uncoordinated because signals from the brain to the muscles deteriorate, or arms and legs may feel numb because sensations from the extremities no longer reach the brain. The condition becomes progressively worse over time if not effectively treated. Although there is no cure, medications can help reduce inflammation and lengthen periods between attacks.12
How common is multiple sclerosis
There are about 400,000 people in the U.S. living with MS. The condition is typically diagnosed anywhere from age 20 to age 50.3
Certain populations have an increased risk of developing MS. Whites are more than twice as likely as other races to develop MS, and women are affected almost twice as often as men.
Geography and climate may also impact an individual’s MS risk factor. MS is five times more prevalent in the northern United States, Canada, and Europe than in tropical regions.45678
Questions regarding your multiple sclerosis therapy
You can reach the Accredo MS care team, anytime, day or night, seven days a week.
24-hour Customer Service Center
1 The Basic Facts: The History of MS. Rolak et al. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 2013; http://www.nationalmssociety.org NINDS Multiple Sclerosis Information Page. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health. October, 2004.
2Multiple Sclerosis: Hope Through Research. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health. July, 2004. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Hope-Through-Research/Multiple-Sclerosis-Hope-Through-Research
3Halper J, Holland N. Comprehensive Nursing Care In Multiple Sclerosis, 2nd ed. Ney York: Demos; 2002.
4Dangond, F. Multiple Sclerosis. eMedicine.com. July, 2004.>Capturing and Classifying Functional Status Information in Administrative Databases. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
5Bates, B. A Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking, Fifth Edition. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company; 1991.
6McCance K, Huether S. Pathophysiology: The Biologic Basis for Diseases in Adults and Children, Fourth Edition. St. Louis: Mosby; 1994.
7Lewis S, Collier I. Medical Surgical Nursing: Assessment and Management of Clinical Problems, Third Edition. St. Louis: Mosby; 1992.
8About MS: Diagnosing MS. The National MS Society. Accessed 11_25_13. http://www.nationalmssociety.org/about-multiple-sclerosis/what-we-know-about-ms/diagnosing-ms/index.aspx
What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis
Most people experience their first symptoms of MS between the ages of 20 and 40. While symptoms rarely begin before age 15 or after age 60, scientists have documented the initial symptoms of MS at almost every age.9 When symptoms occur, they can include:
- Dizziness, blurred or double vision
- Muscle weakness in the arms and legs
- Difficulty with coordination and balance
- Muscle stiffness and spasms
- Numbness, prickling or tingling sensations
- Difficulty with concentration, attention span and memory
- Speech impediments
How is it diagnosed
Unfortunately, there is no clear combination of symptoms or test results that can definitively say a person has MS. Health care providers use an array of testing strategies to determine if a person meets the criteria for a diagnosis of MS, including ruling out other possible causes of symptoms. Doctors will typically take a detailed past medical history, including detailed descriptions of symptoms and when they started. Then a physical and neurologic exam will be performed including a panel of imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Typically, no one test is enough to confirm the presence of MS; a combination of positive findings is required.10Physicians often use the Revised McDonald Criteria in order to make a more efficient diagnosis of MS.11
Other neurologic tests that may be completed are MRI, Visual Evoked Potential (VEP), and Cerebrospinal Fluid Analysis.12
9Bates, B. A Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking, Fifth Edition. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company; 1991.
10McCance K, Huether S. Pathophysiology: The Biologic Basis for Diseases in Adults and Children, Fourth Edition. St. Louis: Mosby; 1994.
11Lewis S, Collier I. Medical Surgical Nursing: Assessment and Management of Clinical Problems, Third Edition. St. Louis: Mosby; 1992.
12About MS: Diagnosing MS. The National MS Society. Accessed 11_25_13. http://www.nationalmssociety.org/about-multiple-sclerosis/what-we-know-about-ms/diagnosing-ms/index.aspx
Multiple sclerosisThe following specialty medications are available at Accredo, a specialty pharmacy for multiple sclerosis.
*Generic equivalent of Copaxone 20mg dose
|EMD Serono, Inc.||Novartis||EMD Serono, Inc.|
Financing Your Care
Financial resources are available to support your drug costs, including manufacturer and community programs. Accredo specialists are available to help you find the right program for you.
- National Organization for Rare Disease | 1-877-247-4363
- Patient Access Network Foundation | 1-866-316-7263
- The Assistance Fund
- Good Days® | 1-877-968-7233
Life-saving specialty medication can be expensive. Learn how the Accredo teams help individuals find ways to afford the medication they need to survive in this video.
There are many organizations that support research and advocacy for MS. See below for a few of those organizations.
- National MS Society
- Multiple Sclerosis Association of America
- Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers
- Multiple Sclerosis National Research Institute
- Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
Meet the Team
Accredo’s MS care team is dedicated to serving you and we understand the complexity of your condition. Our specialty-trained clinicians are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to answer any questions.
Why We Do It
Accredo supports patients with chronic and complex conditions and helps them live their best life. Watch our video to learn why we do what we do for our patients.