Disease Modifying Agents (DMAs) in MS
In 1993, the first disease-modifying treatment for MS was approved by the US FDA (interferon beta-1b subcutaneous; Betaseron). Since then, five additional disease modifying agents have been approved for use in MS: Avonex (interferon beta-1a intramuscular), Copaxone (glatiramer acetate; copolymer-1; Cop-1), Rebif (interferon beta-1a subcutaneous), Novantrone (mitoxantrone intravenous), and Tysabri (natalizumab intravenous). These agents are called "disease modifying" because each is capable of altering the individual's MS course for the better. Specifically, the approved DMAs all tend to suppress further worsening of MS, particularly regarding relapses.
As of 2008, approximately 20 new possible DMAs are in Final Phase III testing. These include new agents attacking many different aspects of MS, and these also include oral medications. The future holds true promise for developing new, effective, safe, and more convenient treatments for MS. New and exciting approaches to repair MS-related brain and spinal cord damage are on the near horizon. The future, we feel, is bright and encouraging.