What to know about steroids and MS

What to know about steroids and MS



Multiple sclerosis attacks the protective coating around the nervous system. People with the condition often experience periods of severe symptoms, or flares. The flares may become more frequent over time as the condition progresses.
Although there is no cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), some treatments - including steroids - can help slow the progression of the condition and reduce symptom severity during flares.Steroids powder


A doctor may prescribe intravenous or oral steroids when a person with MS experiences a flare. However, although steroids can be effective for reducing the severity and duration of a person's symptoms during the flare, they can cause unpleasant side effects.


For this reason, a doctor may only recommend steroids when a person has a severe flare that interferes with their ability to function.


Doctors may be more likely to prescribe a round of steroids for a person with an MS flare if they are experiencing any of the following symptoms:The steroids that doctors use to treat MS flares are glucocorticoids. These reduce inflammation, which is a trigger for MS symptoms.


Doctors often use glucocorticoids to treat other health conditions in which inflammation plays a role, such as asthma and severe allergy attacks.


For treating MS flares, a doctor will often suggest intravenous methylprednisolone once per day for 3-5 days. Sometimes, they choose to follow the intravenous steroid treatment with steroid pills, which the person will take in a tapering dosage for an additional 1-2 weeks.


In the past, many doctors presumed that intravenous forms of steroids were the best. However, a recent study showed that high dosages of oral steroids are just as effective.Doctors typically use steroids to help a person experiencing a symptom flare. Steroid treatment will help a person with MS recover from the acute symptoms of the flare.


However, steroids do not have a lasting or profound impact on the overall treatment of MS. So, healthcare providers do not consider steroids a primary form of treatment for MS.


Often, the symptoms that a person experiences during a flare will gradually get better on their own. Not everyone who has a flare will require steroids to recover. A person should speak to their healthcare provider to determine whether steroids are a suitable treatment option for them.


It is important to note that people with an active infection should not take steroids. Infections, such as colds or urinary tract infections, can make MS symptoms worse.


Steroids can also make an infection worse, so people should let their doctor know if they are sick before taking steroids.