New guidelines released for Multiple Sclerosis patients

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- There are new guidelines to treat people with Multiple Sclerosis or MS. The goal is to prevent problems as early as possible.

Many say this is overdue because the last guidelines were published in 2002.

At that time, there were only a few medications. Now, there are 17 drugs approved for MS and new research shows starting medication earlier will lead to better results.

MS is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the nervous system. It can lead to muscle weakness, vision problems, and thinking difficulties.

Advances in medicine have made it possible to start treatment at the first signs of the disease and closely monitor to make adjustments. The thinking is once the damage is done, it can't be reversed, so starting medication early can help prevent that damage and slow the progression of MS.

"We know that we can't take away any injury that's occurred in the time during the disease, so the more we can be preventing things up front the better we can do," said Dr. Alexander Rae Grant from the Cleveland Clinic.

If you have MS, it's best to talk to your doctor about the risks versus the benefits of medication and to develop a treatment plan for you.

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