Advances in the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis

Biomed J. 2014 Mar-Apr;37(2):41-9. doi: 10.4103/2319-4170.130440.


This article reviews and discusses the approved and emerging therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a chronic and disabling immune-mediated disease of the central nervous system (CNS) that affects mainly young adults. MS imposes a huge economic burden on healthcare systems and the society. Although the last 20 years have brought a continuous expansion in therapeutic options, there are still unmet needs in MS management. Available MS drugs have varying degrees of efficacy in reducing relapse risk. The long-term term effects of these treatments are incompletely known. New therapies, along with variations of currently available treatments, may prove more effective and tolerable than the available drugs. Treatments for MS differ with respect to the mode of administration, tolerability and likelihood of treatment adherence, side effects, and risk of major toxicity. The armamentarium of approved disease-modifying therapies in MS and those in development include: (1) the first approved, moderately effective, injectable interferon-β and glatiramer acetate; (2) oral drugs (fingolimod, laquinimod, teriflunomide, dimethyl fumarate); (3) monoclonal antibodies (rituximab, ocrelizumab, ofatumumab, daclizumab, alemtuzumab); and (4) immunosuppressive agents (e.g. mitoxantrone). The place of each drug in the therapeutic algorithm is dependent on its specific risk-benefit profile. Patients' clinical and paraclinical phenotypes and biomarker profile may help to elucidate disease subtypes and response to therapy in the future, thus allowing treatment individualization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Interferon-beta / therapeutic use
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / diagnosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / prevention & control
  • Risk Assessment
  • Rituximab


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Rituximab
  • Interferon-beta