How much progress has there been in the second-line treatment of multiple sclerosis: A 2017 update

Rev Neurol (Paris). 2018 Jun;174(6):429-440. doi: 10.1016/j.neurol.2018.01.369. Epub 2018 May 17.


In 1993, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first drug specifically for treating multiple sclerosis (MS). More than two decades later, a dozen such treatments are now available. Of these, four are considered second-line treatments for use in escalation strategies and two new drugs are currently undergoing accreditation procedures. Soon, they will provide clinicians with a range of six effective disease-modifying treatments (DMTs) to thwart the inflammatory processes in MS patients with active disease. However, while such a large number of DMTs for MS can help to control early inflammation, any decisions to be made by clinicians have also been made substantially more complex. This complexity is increased by the lack of head-to-head studies comparing these second-line therapies and the benefit-risk profiles for each of these drugs, which are likely to vary among patients. Ultimately, good awareness of the benefits and, more important, the risks of each MS DMT is crucial for the effective management of inflammation in MS.

Keywords: Early treatment; Escalation; Induction; Multiple sclerosis; Second-line therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Neurology / methods
  • Neurology / trends*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Immunosuppressive Agents