NeuroCare Brain & Spine Center
Treatment Options for Multiple Sclerosis
Aurora BayCare Medical Center offers the latest techniques and technologies for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) including:
Intrathecal baclofen therapy
MS patients who experience severe spasticity – involuntary tightening of muscles – may experience reduced spasticity with ITB therapy and fewer side effects associated with oral baclofen. ITB treatment involves surgically implanting a pump just beneath the skin of the abdomen. The pump directly injects medication into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. In this way, only small amounts of medication are required compared to oral medications, which circulate throughout the entire body. ITB dosage can be easily adjusted for each patient. Refills of medication are injected into the pump every 2-3 months. The pump can be removed at any time.
Seven medications are currently approved for use to modulate the immune system in an effort to prevent multiple sclerosis attacks. The newest medication, Gilenya, was released to the market for prescriptive use on October 4, 2010. Avonex, Betaseron, Extavia, Rebif, Copaxone and Tysabri are the other approved immunomodulating medications. The seven drugs may reduce future disability and improve quality of life for many people with MS, no matter what the level of disability, age or frequency of relapse. These medications are usually continued indefinitely unless there is a clear lack of benefit or intolerable side effects.
Medications that suppress the immune system's attacks on nerve fibers in MS include azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, immunoglobin, methotrexate and mitoxantrone. These alternatives may be sought if benefit is not obtained from any of the above medications.
Plasma exchange therapy involves removing and separating plasma from red and white blood cells. Plasma is the fluid portion of the blood in which these cells are suspended. The plasma also contains antibodies, which may be destroying certain tissues and causing a flare-up of MS. The plasma is replaced with a mixture of the protein substance albumin and saline solution, and the red and white blood cells are returned to the body.
Two IV lines are inserted into the patient's veins for the procedure. About 1/2 to 1 cup of blood is out of the body at any given time. Medications may be given during the procedure. Treatments take 2-3 hours each, typically occurring once a week, and total treatments may range from 5 to 15. It usually takes several weeks before a change in symptoms is noticed, but plasmapheresis can relieve symptoms in many MS patients.
Currently our MS Clinic is involved in research with therapies for Multiple Sclerosis as well as investigating blood tests associated with MS. If participating in a clinical trial to further MS research please contact our MS clinic at (920) 288-8020.
For more information about the Aurora BayCare Multiple Sclerosis Clinic please call 920-288-8020.