Neurology of Central Georgia
175 Water Tower Court, Macon GA 31210 ~~~ Ph (478) 471-6217 ~~~ Fax (478) 471-8663
Diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis
- Multiple Sclerosis, commonly referred to as MS, is probably one of the most difficult diagnosis to make. There are no typical symptoms to look for, and there is no single blood test or imaging test which will confirm the diagnosis.
- Once MS is considered as a possible diagnosis, you will then be put thru various diagnostic tests to exclude other possibilities, as well as to try to find support for a diagnosis of MS.
- The diagnostic phase can take numerous weeks to complete.
- Many times, the work up is inconclusive. In such cases, we will clinically follow the patient and repeat some diagnostic studies in 6 or 12 months to look for any changes or disease progression.
- Once a diagnosis is confirmed, we will then discuss treatment options to control the illness
Treating Multiple Sclerosis
- Since Multiple Sclerosis is an immune mediated illness, many of the treatments are based on modifying your immune system to control the illness.
- Prior to the early 1990’s, there was no MS-specific treatments available. We had many medications for treating the “symptoms” of MS, but no medications for the underlying disease.
- In the last 20 years, there have been great strides made in MS research, with numerous MS-specific medications available.
- Some of these medications are – Avonex, Betaseron, Copaxon, Rebif, Extavia, Plegridy, Gilenya, Aubagio, Tecfidera, Tysabri and Lemtrada.
- There are many more medications waiting for FDA approval, and should be available within the next few years.
- These medications are either injections, pills, or infusions.
- The Regional MS Center has vast experience with all these medications.
- We work with a local infusion center for those patients needing IV infusion therapy for their MS.
- Since we are actively involved with clinical research, some patients may qualify for receiving their medications thru one of the research grants.
- Since the criteria for entering a research program are very strict, only a limited few patients will qualify for such studies. Dr. Athni will discuss these options with you if he feels you qualify.