About Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis

Relapsing remitting multiple sclerosisis a form of MS where there are relapses with full recovery and residual deficit upon recovery. In RRMS, a patient experiences attacks of worsening neurological function followed by episodes of remission in which there is partial or complete recovery. Although this form of MS is also degenerative, it is associated with a better prognosis than other forms of the disease.

To better understand relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis and the details of it on the body, there are three other types of multiple sclerosis that should be noted.

Primary progressive multiple sclerosis is a gradual but steady form of MS that involves no relapses or remissions, occurring in about 15% of all people diagnosed with MS. It is most common in people that are diagnosed after the age of 40. Secondary progressive MS is a form of the disease in which it initially begins with a relapsing remitting course, but later evolves into a progressive form of the disease. This progressive part begins shortly after the onset of multiple sclerosis, or may occur years or even decades later. The least common form of the disease, known as progressive-relapsing MS, is the least common form of multiple sclerosis and is characterized by a steady progression in disability with severe attacks that may be followed by minimal recovery. Those that are diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis initially appear to have primary MS after studying their case.

Multiple sclerosis is defined as a degenerative autoimmune disorder affecting movement, sensation, and organ function. It is brought on by the destruction of the myelin insulation covering neurons in the brain and spinal cord, which make up the central nervous system. When the myelin is destroyed, the messages sent from the neurons are sent slower and less effectively, resulting in delayed movement and other forms of mobility, including speech, walking, and vision. MS sufferers number nearly a quarter of a million people in the United States alone. The majority of patients begin showing symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40. There are smaller percentages of the general society that experience symptoms of multiple sclerosis from early childhood and as older adults, however. Women are more likely to get MS than men, and people of northern European (Caucasian) heritage are more likely to be affected than people from Asia, Africa, or South American Indians.

Several agents have shown important benefits for patients suffering from relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis(RRMS). These agents include interferon beta-1a, glatiramer acetate, interferon beta-1b, and natalizumab. The benefits to using these agents include a decreased relapse rate, a reduced progression of disability, and a slower accumulation of lesions on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It is advised by patients suffering from RRMS to begin disease modifying therapy with interferon or glatiramer acetate.  The full impact of these therapies on the progression of brain atrophy in multiple sclerosis is still not fully realized, because some studies show atrophy with treatment, while others do not. Researchers do know that most of the immune response in MS occurs early in the disease course. Typically, the later stages of MS are less inflammatory and more degenerative. Therefore, it is advisable that treatment of MS should begin early and as aggressive as possible to fight the symptoms of the disease. Clinical trials support this approach as it has shown that early treatment with interferons reduces the attack rate in patients with isolated syndromes suggestive of MS. Since all patients experience symptoms of MS differently and in variable stages, the choice of treatment course is difficult to assess. As disease modifying therapy relies on controlled trials, patients not in those clinical trials may experience different reactions and results.


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