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MS Drugs for Fatigue, Pain, and Other Problems

MS Medications for Vision Problems

Although improvement of visual problems usually occurs even without treatment, a short course of treatment with intravenous methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol®) followed by treatment with oral steroids is sometimes used.

MS Medications for Fatigue

Fatigue, especially in the legs, is a common symptom of MS and may be both physical and psychological. Avoiding excessive activity and heat are probably the most important measures patients can take to counter physical fatigue.
If psychological aspects of fatigue, such as depression or apathy, are present, antidepressant medications may help. Another medication that may reduce fatigue in some, but not all, patients is amantadine (Symmetrel®).

MS Medications for Pain

People with MS may experience several types of pain. Muscle and back pain can be helped by aspirin or acetaminophen and physical therapy to correct faulty posture and strengthen and stretch muscles.
The sharp, stabbing facial pain known as trigeminal neuralgia is commonly treated with carbamazepine or other anticonvulsant drugs or, occasionally, with surgery. Intense tingling and burning sensations are harder to treat. Some people get relief with antidepressant drugs; others may respond to electrical stimulation of the nerves in the affected area. In some cases, the physician may recommend codeine.

MS Medications for Bladder Problems

As the disease progresses, some patients develop bladder malfunctions. Urinary problems are often the result of infections that can be treated with antibiotics. The physician may recommend that patients take vitamin C supplements or drink cranberry juice, as these measures acidify urine and may reduce the risk of further infections. Several medications are also available.
The most common bladder problems encountered by MS patients are:
  • Urinary frequency
  • Urgency
  • Incontinence.
A small number of patients, however, retain large amounts of urine. In these patients, catheterization may be necessary. In this procedure, a catheter or drainage tube is temporarily inserted (by the patient or a caretaker) into the urethra several times a day to drain urine from the bladder. Surgery may be indicated in severe cases that do not respond to other treatments.
MS patients with urinary problems may be reluctant to drink enough fluids, leading to constipation. Drinking more water and adding fiber to the diet usually alleviates this condition.
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