Current and investigational therapies used to alter the course of disease in multiple sclerosis

South Med J. 1997 Apr;90(4):367-75. doi: 10.1097/00007611-199704000-00001.


Extensive research is under way to develop pharmacotherapeutic agents that will prevent the exacerbations and the progression of neurologic disability associated with multiple sclerosis (MS). The most intensive research strategy has involved agents intended to limit demyelination by reducing inflammation and modifying the immune response. In this category are interferon beta-1b, the first compound approved for use outside of clinical trials; interferon beta-1a; and copolymer 1. Experimental agents include other interferons, methotrexate, linomide, monoclonal antibodies, T-cell receptor peptides, and 2-chlorodeoxyadenosine. Although they have been used effectively to treat exacerbations of MS, corticosteroids and corticotropin are now under evaluation as disease-modifying agents. A second strategy, enhancing remyelination by limiting demyelination and oligodendrocyte injury, is represented by protein growth factors. A third therapeutic approach, improving conduction in demyelinated fibers, is represented by the potassium channel blockers 4-aminopyridine and 3,4-diaminopyridine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Disease Progression
  • Glatiramer Acetate
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Interferon beta-1a
  • Interferon beta-1b
  • Interferon-beta / therapeutic use
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / prevention & control*
  • Neural Conduction / drug effects
  • Peptides
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Recurrence


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Peptides
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Interferon beta-1b
  • Glatiramer Acetate
  • Interferon-beta
  • Interferon beta-1a