Treatment finder

The mainstay of treatment for MS, whether you have relapsing remitting or progressive MS, involves managing individual symptoms. Symptomatic treatments help relieve the physical or mental symptoms of the condition. They don’t treat the underlying cause or change the course of the condition itself.

Depending on the symptom, management might involve medication, input from a therapist or rehabilitation specialist and/or the development of self-management strategies.

Learning to manage your symptoms takes time and you may need to try several different options before finding what works best for you. It can be helpful to read up about the different treatment options for the symptoms you’re experiencing so you can talk them through with your GP or MS team.

You can use this tool to find out more about the drugs and treatments which are commonly used for MS, and the symptoms they can be used for. To find out what treatments may be used for each symptom, click on a box on the left to narrow down the list to treatments for that symptom. Links on the right take you to our A to Z page on each treatment to find out more.

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Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), is a type of psychological therapy used for multiple sclerosis symptoms such as anxiety, pain and depression. Read more in this A-Z entry.
Action potential simulation (APS) is a complementary therapy which some people use as a treatment for pain in multiple sclerosis (MS).
Acupuncture is a complementary therapy, which is sometimes used alongside more conventional approaches, to treat a number of symptoms in MS. Learn more in this A-Z entry.
Alprostadil (Caverject) (also known as MUSE, Viridal Duo, or Vitaros) is a treatment for erectile dysfunction, a symptom which can affect men with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Amantadine (Symmetrel) is a drug used for treating fatigue in multiple sclerosis. Find out more about Amantadine in this A-Z entry.
What is amitriptyline? Amitriptyline is an antidepressant used to treat moderate to severe depression. In MS it can be used in lower doses for the treatment of nerve pain. Find out more about Amitriptyline in this A-Z entry.
Avanafil (Spedra) is a prescription medicine for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, a symptom that can affect men with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Baclofen is a drug used to treat spasticity and spasms in multiple sclerosis. Learn more about this drug in this A-Z entry.
Bladder issues are common symptoms in multiple sclerosis. Problems can include needing the toilet urgently and frequently, and having difficulty emptying your bladder. Treatment options include medication, using a catheter and lifestyle changes.
Botulinum toxin (botox) is a drug used to treat spasticity, spasms and bladder symptoms in multiple sclerosis. Learn more about botox in this A-Z entry.
Bowel problems in multiple sclerosis can include constipation, bowel accidents and loose bowel movements. Treatment options include medication, transanal irrigation, pelvic floor exercises, biofeedback retraining and, in some cases, a colostomy. Changes to your diet and activity levels can make a real difference too.
Carbamazepine is an anti-epilepsy drug used in multiple sclerosis (MS) to treat pain associated with spasticity and spasms and trigeminal neuralgia.
A urinary catheter is a thin, flexible tube used to drain urine from the bladder. Urine is usually collected in a drainage bag, or drained directly into a toilet.
Cialis is a prescription medicine for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, a symptom that can affect men with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Clonazepam is used as a treatment for epilepsy. In multiple sclerosis (MS), it is sometimes used to treat tremor, and occasionally pain or spasticity.
Cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT is a form of talking or psychological therapy (psychotherapy). It is used in the treatment of anxiety and depression.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) refers to treatments that are not widely in use in conventional medicine, such as acupuncture and yoga. Find out more in this A-Z entry.
Continence services are specialist nurse teams that can help you with bladder and bowel symptoms. They can advise on treatment options such as medication, pelvic floor exercises and dietary changes, as well as products such as catheters and continence pads.
Counselling is a type of talking or psychological therapy. It involves talking to a trained therapist about your problems and concerns and can involve exploring ways to manage situations. Counsellors provide a safe and non judgmental environment to examine your issues and feelings. Some people with multiple sclerosis find counselling can be helpful to develop techniques to cope with the uncertainties and unpredictabilities of the condition and adapt to any changing symptoms. Counselling may also be of value to those who are close to the individual with MS.
Dantrolene sodium is a drug used to treat chronic, severe spasticity and spasms. It works by stopping electrical impulses within muscles, preventing contractions.
Deep brain stimulation is an invasive surgical technique sometimes used to treat serious tremor in multiple sclerosis (MS).
Desmopressin is a drug used to treat bladder problems in MS. It is used in people who need to go to the toilet frequently during the night (known as nocturia). Learn more in this A-Z entry.
Diazepam is typically used to treat spasticity and spasms in MS when other treatments are not proving effective it can also be used for severe anxiety. Read more in this A-Z entry.
A dietitian (also spelled dietician) is a therapist who specialises in the role of food and nutrition in health. This may involve creating eating plans to help manage medical conditions, promoting good health through healthy eating and providing education on good nutritional habits.
Donepezil (Aricept) is a drug used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease which has been studied as a treatment for impaired memory in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Double vision (diplopia) can occur in multiple sclerosis when the nerve pathways that control eye movements are damaged.
These pages look at how being active can help people with MS. As everyone's MS is different, so is their capacity for exercise. Whether you feel able to practice some gentle stretches or train for marathons, you will find that adding exercise to your life in a safe way will bring benefits.
Fampridine (Fampyra) is a drug treatment which has been shown to improve walking speed for some adults with multiple sclerosis (MS). Fampridine is taken orally as tablets.
Fluoxetine is normally prescribed to treat depression. Exploratory studies have also looked at whether it might help reduce inflammation around nerves in MS.
Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is a treatment that applies small electrical charges to a muscle that has become paralysed or weakened, due to damage in your brain or spinal cord. The electrical charge stimulates the muscle to make its usual movement. In MS it is mostly used as a treatment for foot drop, where disruptions in the nerve pathways between the legs and brain mean the front of your foot cannot be lifted to the correct angle when walking.
Gabapentin is a drug used in multiple sclerosis to treat neuropathic pain, such as trigeminal neuralgia, or abnormal skin sensations, and spasticity. Find out more about Gabapentin in this A-Z entry.
Hippotherapy is a form of physiotherapy that uses the motion of the walking horse to provide therapeutic movement to the rider.
Hypnosis or hypnotherapy belongs to a branch of medicine known as complementary and alternative medicine.
Imipramine is a drug used to treat depression. In multiple sclerosis (MS), it is sometimes used to treat pain, particularly nerve pain or altered sensations. It can also be used for some mild bladder symptoms.
Intrathecal baclofen may be used to treat spasticity in multiple sclerosis, it involves surgically implanting a pump under the skin of the abdomen. Learn more in this A-Z entry.
Lamotrigine is an anti-epileptic drug that has been used experimentally in multiple sclerosis to reduce the pain associated with trigeminal neuralgia and spasticity. Lamotrigine is not currently recommended in the NICE Guideline for the treatment of pain in MS.
Massage is used by some people for the relief of pain and musculoskeletal symptoms of multiple sclerosis. It can be relaxing and may help general well-being. Massage is often used in combination with aromatherapy.
Meditation belongs to a group of therapies known as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). When practised correctly, it can induce a state of calm.
Mindfulness is a psychological therapy approach that can be used to improve your outlook, provide coping strategies, and help manage symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Modafinil is a drug that promotes wakefulness and is licensed for treating people who experience excessive sleepiness due to narcolepsy. Research has suggested that it may be an effective treatment for multiple sclerosis fatigue. However, following the findings of a safety review, the European Medicines Agency recommended that the use of modafinil should only be associated with narcolepsy.
Nuedexta (dextromethorphan/quinidine) is a drug used to treat pseudobulbar affect – uncontrolled laughing or crying – a potential symptom of multiple sclerosis. It was licensed by the European Medicines Agency in June 2013, however it was withdrawn from use in the European Union in 2016.
Nystagmus is the involuntary movement of the eyes, causing them to flick rapidly from side to side, up and down, or in a rotary manner. It can be a visual symptom of multiple sclerosis.
Occupational therapists (often known as OTs) aim to help people with multiple sclerosis continue to live life as fully as possible, providing practical support to overcome whatever barriers they may find in their daily activities.
Optic neuritis is a common eye problem where inflammation or demyelination affects the optic nerve. It is a condition in its own right, but is also strongly associated with multiple sclerosis. Not everyone who experiences optic neuritis goes on to develop further symptoms of MS, but a significant proportion do.
Oxybutynin is an anticholinergic drug that is used to improve your bladder's ability to store urine. In MS it may be used if you need to go to the toilet frequently, or if you have sudden urges to go to the toilet or find it difficult to 'hold on'. This is known as urinary frequency or urgency.
Paroxetine is an antidepressant drug, one of a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which increase serotonin levels in the brain. It is normally prescribed for depression, particularly accompanied by anxiety.
In MS, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is used to ensure you get enough nutrients and prevent chest infections if you’re experiencing advanced swallowing problems (dysphagia).
Phenol is a neurolytic agent, which means that it impairs the conduction of nerves. In multiple sclerosis it has been used in the treatment of severe spasticity or pain where other treatment options have proven ineffective.
Phenytoin is an anti-convulsant drug that works on the brain and spinal cord. Its main use is in epilepsy. In MS it can be used to treat trigeminal neuralgia or other painful sensations (dysaesthesia) if other approaches have not worked.
Physiotherapy helps to maintain or restore function and movement. It can be valuable for many multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms and is especially helpful in promoting activity and exercise to help you resume, or maintain, an active and independent life.
Pilates is a low-impact exercise which focuses on building core stability and muscle strength by performing a range of exercises in a flow of movement. Many people with MS practise Pilates as a complementary therapy alongside conventional medicine they are taking for their MS.
Poor posture is common for people with multiple sclerosis and can lead to problems including pain, pressure sores and reduced independence. We bring together information and practical tips to understand and improve your posture.
What is pregabalin? Pregabalin is a drug used in the treatment of neuropathic or nerve pain associated with a number of conditions including multiple sclerosis (MS). Learn more about this drug in this A-Z entry.
Some people with multiple sclerosis find that they experience sudden episodes of uncontrollable laughing and/or crying at inappropriate times, or which are unrelated, or out of proportion, to their current mood.
Psychological therapies (sometimes called talking therapies or psychotherapy) encourage you to challenge negative feelings about coping with multiple sclerosis.
A clinical psychologist or clinical neuropsychologist is a therapist who can help with the impact that MS may have on cognition (thought processes, memory, concentration), thoughts, mood and behaviour.
Reflexology is a complementary therapy where gentle pressure is applied to the soles of your feet or your hands. It is used by people with MS, and can improve pain, fatigue and mood.
Carrying out relaxation techniques can help bring many health benefits, especially if you live with MS. They can help generate a feeling of peace and calm if you're feeling anxious, stressed or overwhelmed.
Sativex (nabiximols) is the first cannabis-based medicine to be licensed in the UK. The drug can prescribed for the treatment for MS-related spasticity when a person has shown inadequate response to other symptomatic treatments or found their side effects intolerable. Sativex can be used in addition to a person's current anti-spasticity medication.
Poor sleep is common in people with multiple sclerosis, with about 50% of people with MS reported to experience some form of sleep disturbance. Despite this being well known, sleep disorders are under-diagnosed and under-treated in people with MS.
Speech and language therapists (SaLT) can help people with multiple sclerosis (MS) with communication or swallowing problems.
Problems with how you speak can be a symptom of multiple sclerosis for some people. MS speech disorders include slurring of speech and problems with the quality of your voice (dysarthria) and difficulty remembering specific words (dysphasia).
Exercise is beneficial for people with multiple sclerosis and can be tailored to suit the individual so that health, strength and flexibility are improved. Learn more about the benefits of exercise in this A-Z entry.
Staying Smart is an online resource for people who want to know, or know more, about how MS can affect thinking.
What are steroids used for in MS? Steroids (also known as corticosteroids) may be used to treat relapses in multiple sclerosis. Methylprednisolone is the steroid most often prescribed.
Most people experience stress, whether they have MS or not. It's normal to feel anxious or worried from time to time but long-term stress can make your MS symptoms seem worse. Learning to manage your stress is an important part of taking control of your condition.
Difficulty swallowing (also known as dysphagia) is a possible symptom of multiple sclerosis. Support is available to help manage the effects of swallowing problems.
Tai Chi is a form of gentle exercise that combines deep breathing and relaxation techniques with slow, graceful movements. Because Tai Chi is largely based on technique, it does not require great strength or flexibility. It is used by some people with multiple sclerosis to help with balance, stress relief and general wellbeing.
Thalamotomy is a surgical procedure to treat tremor. It involves destroying part of the thalamus, an area of the brain that when damaged by MS can cause tremor. The surgery will usually only be considered if you have a very severe tremor that has not responded to other treatment.
Tizanidine is a drug used to treat spasticity and spasms in multiple sclerosis (MS). The NICE MS Guideline states that it can be used if treatment with baclofen or gabapentin has not been successful.
Tolterodine is used in the treatment of bladder symptoms in multiple sclerosis, when you need to need go to the toilet urgently or frequently. Read more in this A-Z entry. Other names: Blerone, Inconex, Neditol, Preblacon, Santizor,
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) involves using a mild electric current to treat pain. TENS machines can be used to treat types of pain in multiple sclerosis (MS).
Vardenafil is a prescription medicine for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, a symptom that can affect men with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Viagra (sildenafil citrate) is a treatment for erectile dysfunction, a symptom that can affect men with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Whole body vibration therapy (WBV) involves doing exercises on a vibrating platform. Research in the general population suggests that the benefits of exercise are achieved in less time when using vibration therapy.
Visualisation and guided imagery belong to a branch of therapies known as complementary and alternative medicines (CAM).
Yoga is a popular and safe activity for people with MS. As a form of exercise, yoga can improve balance, core strength and flexibility.