When should you start using a DMT?

A friend of mine was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis about fifteen years ago.  She’s been very stable since her DX without being on any disease modifying drugs.

But, we’ve both wondered if she should be proactive and start using using Avonex, Betaseron, Copaxone, Tysabri or another of the many disease modifying therapies that are available today.  So far, her neurologist has suggested that my friend hold off.

I’ve lived with MS since 1980 and I was in the original Phase-III study of Avonex back in 1996.  After several years on Avonex I moved to Tysabri and then to Aubagio.  So, I’ve been doing these drugs a long time. Over those years I’ve asked myself a lot, “was starting down the DMT road the right thing to do when I did it?”  I really can’t say. My MRIs show the plaque in my brain has been stable, yet my disability has certainly increased over the past twenty years, or so.  Would my Multiple Sclerosis have worsened more had I not been using those drugs?  Who knows?

Translate that uncertainty to my friend’s situation. When is the right time for her to begin a DMT?  Today?  After a serious exacerbation?  Should she have started years ago or does she have years to go before she takes that plunge?  There’s an interesting article about this in the June 23rd issue of Neurology Today.  It reports on a debate on this question that occurred at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology last April.  As the introduction to the article says, “the answers were almost as vexing as an individual’s disease course.”  It’s a very interesting read.


3 thoughts on “When should you start using a DMT?

  1. monalisams

    I have just discovered you today, and wanted to tell you that I really like your journalistic approach to trying to sort out hype from hope. I was Dx in 1991, but believe that I had my first symptom about 10 years earlier. I did okay until 2012-2013 when I had to leave my job on disability. My mom, and two of my sisters all have MS. I know that some genes have been discovered to play a part in the development of MS, but that has proven to be of no value to us! I have bookmarked your web page and will follow you now. I happen to have a WordPress blog as well, but I need to get more active there. If you get a chance, I would appreciate you taking a look. monalisams.wordpress.com. Thank you!


    1. Commstrats Post author

      Thanks for your kind words, Mona. We’re all traveling the same road, though the turns are a bit different for each of us. I’ll take a look at your blog and see if I can find a Mona Lisa smile.

      Liked by 1 person


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