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Drugs Used to Treat Tiredness Due to Multiple Sclerosis

Medications That Can Help

Once you and your doctor have worked together to decide the best way to manage your symptoms, he or she may recommend prescription medication.
Medications that help reduce fatigue from multiple sclerosis include:
  • Amantadine (Symmetrel®). Amantadine is a common antiviral agent. Side effects are generally mild, with the most common being dizziness, insomnia, agitation, or anxiety.
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin®). Many people have heard of this drug being used to treat attention disorders in children. This drug is a stimulant and is often used to treat fatigue due to multiple sclerosis. It has few side effects and is generally very well tolerated.

Side effects, when they occur, may include being too stimulated, feeling anxious, or having a rapid heartbeat. For those with high blood pressure that is not well controlled, it may make it more difficult to control blood pressure. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are being treated for high blood pressure or if you have problems with your heart rate. There is very little risk of addiction with this drug.

  • Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®). Dexedrine is a stimulant medication. Its effect on multiple sclerosis fatigue and its side effects are similar to those of methylphenidate (Ritalin).
  • Modafinil (Provigil®). Modafinil is a medication that has only recently been used to treat MS fatigue. It is an effective alternative to amantadine or methylphenidate. It is also used for another disorder called narcolepsy (excessive or inappropriate sleepiness). This medication generally does not have the overstimulation effect that some people experience with methylphenidate (Ritalin) or dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine).
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