Disease-modifying therapy in multiple sclerosis: Strategies for optimizing management

Elliot Frohman, Ted Phillips, Kristen Kokel, Jerry Van Pelt, Shirley O'Leary, Shelly Gross, Kathleen Hawker, Michael Racke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND - The objective for this article is to highlight several challenges faced by patients and providers in the utilization of disease-modifying agent (DMA) therapy in multiple sclerosis (MS) and to offer practical management strategies that can effectively mitigate or even prevent limiting adverse reactions and enhance treatment compliance. REVIEW SUMMARY - Our discussion will be limited to the use of interferon β1a (Avonex, Rebif), interferon β1b (Betaseron), and glatiramer acetate (Copoxane) as these are the primary agents used in the United States for primary disease-modifying therapy in relapsing forms of MS. Some of the recommendations contained herein are derived from evidence-based studies, while others are contingent upon our collective clinical experiences. At the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and Texas Neurology in Dallas we actively follow approximately 5000 MS patients. The majority of our patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) or secondary progressive MS (SPMS) are treated with one of the currently available DMAs. Our experience with these patients, and the challenges they face in continuing long-term treatment, constitutes the basis of our proposed treatment strategies. As part of this effort we formulated an assessment and intervention instrument that can be used in the clinic and by telephone to enhance compliance and minimize adverse events. CONCLUSION - A comprehensive treatment approach to the utilization of disease-modifying therapy in MS can serve to optimize the management of our patients and effectively meet the challenges that arise during the course of treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-236
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Glatiramer acetate
  • Interferon beta
  • Skin reactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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