Multiple Sclerosis

  • My mother and a cousin on my mother's side have multiple sclerosis. Am I likely to get MS? I am 23 and planning to have a family and I would reconsider this if I had a high chance of developing the disease.

    Some neurological disorders are inheirited, such as Huntington's disease and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. You do not get these disorders unless you have the appropriate genetic mutation. In other disorders, such as Parkinson's disease and motor neurone disease, a few patients have it as an inheirited disorder but most patients do not have a genetic abnomality. MS is different from both these groups. It is basically an immune disorder and while there is an inheirited susceptibility to MS, this is a not a major effect. I would consider that your risk of developing MS is quite small even with the positive family history. It would not be a sufficient risk to influence your decision to have children. At present, this is no test for susceptibility fo MS.

  • What is your opinion on the drug Copaxone for someone who has relapsing-remitting MS?

    Copaxone is rather like the other drugs used in remitting-relapsing MS in that it reduces the number (and possibly the severity) of the relapses in some patients. It is not effective in all patients, and may not be as effective as beta-interferon.

  • Am I eligible for treatment with Beta-Interferon?

    To be eligible for treatment, you need to have the remitting-relapsing form of MS and to have had two attacks in the previous year, with significant disability in each attack and subsequent improvement.