Multiple Sclerosis Home > Types of Multiple Sclerosis

The different types of multiple sclerosis follow different patterns of progression. There are four main types of multiple sclerosis, as well as benign and malignant forms of the disease. The main types of multiple sclerosis include relapsing-remitting, primary-progressive, secondary-progressive, and progressive-relapsing.

Types of Multiple Sclerosis: An Overview

There are a few different types of multiple sclerosis (MS). Each case of MS follows one of several patterns regarding how it appears and the course it follows. The patterns of multiple sclerosis include:
  • Relapsing-remitting
  • Primary-progressive
  • Secondary-progressive
  • Progressive-relapsing.
Most commonly, multiple sclerosis begins as a series of attacks followed by complete or partial remissions as the symptoms mysteriously lessen, only to return later after a period of stability. This is called relapsing-remitting (RR) multiple sclerosis.
Primary-progressive (PP) MS is characterized by a gradual clinical decline in function, with no distinct remissions. However, there may be temporary plateaus or minor relief from symptoms.
Secondary-progressive (SP) multiple sclerosis begins with a relapsing-remitting course followed by a later primary-progressive course.
In rare cases, patients may have a progressive-relapsing (PR) course in which the disease becomes progressively worse, with acute attacks flaring up along the way. Primary-progressive, secondary-progressive, and progressive-relapsing are sometimes lumped together and called chronic progressive multiple sclerosis.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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