Disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are advanced treatments used to slow down the progression of diseases. The aim of DMTs is to target the pathology of the disease, not as a cure, but as a way to slow its progression and to make the symptoms more manageable.
DMTs can be part of a comprehensive treatment for patients with neurologic conditions and provide an advantage for them to maintain their physical and mental abilities. Disease-modifying therapies are delivered either by injection, infusion, or through oral medication. When taken by the patient, they help control immunological and inflammatory responses, which can lead to poor outcomes.
In this blog, we will discuss the different disease-modifying treatments used on various neurological conditions and explain how they can benefit patients.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are most commonly associated with multiple sclerosis treatment. These drugs have been shown to be very helpful in reducing the frequency and severity of MS flare ups and extending the survival of the patient.
There are currently 17 FDA-approved disease-modifying therapies for multiple sclerosis treatment, which include:
- Fumarates: Fumarates, including Bafiertam, Tecfidera, Vumerity, and generic forms, are often prescribed to manage MS symptoms and reduce disease activity.
- Glatiramer acetate: Glatiramer acetate, available as Copaxone and generics, is another medication used in the treatment of MS. It helps decrease the frequency of relapses and slows down disease progression.
- Interferon therapies: Interferons, such as Avonex, Betaseron, Extavia, Plegridy, and Rebif, are also commonly used in the treatment of MS. They work by modulating the immune system and preventing further damage from inflammatory responses.
Starting treatment as early as possible after confirming the diagnosis is crucial to effectively combat the initial inflammatory relapsing phase of the disease. Research suggests that there is a critical period in the disease progression where achieving disease control can significantly influence the outcomes of long-term disability.
The benefits of these drugs include the following:
- Reducing early clinical and subclinical disease activity
- Interacting with the immune system and reducing inflammation and severity of MS flare ups
- Reducing the accumulation of lesions in the central nervous system, preserving neurological function over time
- Delaying the accumulation of disability and helping the patient maintain better physical and cognitive abilities
- Reducing the need for hospitalizations, steroid treatments, and other intensive interventions
They are a number of disease modifying therapies used in the treatment of other neurologic conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
For Alzheimer’s disease, disease-modifying drugs aim to slow the progression of cognitive decline. Some examples of disease-modifying drugs used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease include acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEI) and the recently approved Aducanumab.
The disease-modifying drugs help patients with Alzheimer’s disease by:
- Improving memory and enhancing cognitive function
- Reducing the build-up of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain
- Alleviating behavioral symptoms such as agitation, aggression, and depression
- Delaying cognitive decline and the need for institutionalization
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
There are seven drugs that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) and its symptoms.
These drugs include:
The disease-modifying drugs help by:
- Delaying the loss of motor function
- Preserving muscle strength and delaying muscle weakness
- Alleviating symptoms such as muscle cramps, twitching, and stiffness
- Slowing down the decline in respiratory function and helping maintain better breathing capacity
- Protecting motor neurons from damage and potentially preserving their function
- Increasing the patient’s life expectancy by 25 percent
Top Neurologist in Farmington Hills, Howell, and Novi, MI
Associates in Neurology specialize in the treatment of various neurologic conditions. Our board-certified neurologists will provide you or your loved one the support you need to achieve better health and quality of life.
Our doctors treat a wide range of neurologic and musculoskeletal conditions, from multiple sclerosis to cerebral palsy. We also make the latest treatments available for our patients and are highly committed to making a big difference in their lives.
To schedule an appointment with one of our neurology doctors, call our office today at (248) 478-5512 or use our online request form. We look forward to providing you with the most comprehensive neurologic treatments in Michigan.