Multiple Sclerosis: Challenges and Solutions (cont.)

WEINER:
Each immunosuppressive drug works in a different way. The immunosuppressive drugs I referred to have been given to a large number of patients without the progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) side effects.

MEMBER QUESTION:
What do you see coming for pain management? Are there things besides drugs I should be trying?

WEINER:
Pain management is very individual situation. If someone has very bad pain, there are specialized pain clinics that I refer my patients to, as there are so many aspects and avenues to treat it.

"I think people should keep in mind that there are many who have MS that do very well with their illness and that we have treatments that can help slow MS and decrease the disability."

MEMBER QUESTION:
I have an "odd" type of relapsing remitting MS. My "flares" are always many years apart and always seem to link or follow hormonal changes, such as pregnancies and now menopause. Would hormone replacement therapy (HRT) possibly be a help to me? I seem to be getting weaker at an alarming rate.

WEINER:
There's no evidence that HRT would make a major difference, but you should check with your neurologist and endocrinologist.

MEMBER QUESTION:
I am currently on Betaseron for my diagnosis of MS. I am currently trying to be very active in my workouts and weight training. I am 24 years old. Is it OK to take protein, creatine, and other supplements while on the medication? Also, I know another MS patient around the same age who is taking Betaseron and steroids. Will he have any medication reaction problems by taking both? Thank you for your time.

WEINER:
It is perfectly fine to take Betaseron with intravenous steroids such as methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol) which is commonly given for MS attacks. It is also fine to take protein dietary supplements or vitamins with Betaseron.

MEMBER QUESTION:
My biggest challenge was getting a diagnosis. What do you recommend for someone who is trying to get a definitive diagnosis? What tests absolutely should be done?

WEINER:
The most important tests are the MRI and spinal tap. On the MRI one looks for spots consistent with MS. The spinal tap shows abnormal protein and gamma globulin patterns that are often typical of MS.

"In general, the MS patient should try to do as much as they can in their life that they normally would do."

MEMBER QUESTION:
My neurologist has been trying to diagnose me with MS for the past three years. I had optic neuritis in 2002. Now my pressure in the same eye has gone up to 28. Is there a link between MS and eye pressure?

WEINER:
There's a link between MS and optic neuritis, but I don't know of a link between MS and eye pressure.

I think people should keep in mind that there are many who have MS that do very well with their illness and that we have treatments that can help slow MS and decrease the disability. In general, the MS patient should try to do as much as they can in their life that they normally would do.

MODERATOR:
Dr. Weiner, we know that you need to return to your patients, but before you go could you please tell us about your book?

WEINER:
I published, last week, a book called Curing MS: How Science Is Solving the Mysteries of Multiple Sclerosis . Both patients and physicians have found it very useful. MS is a very complex disease, and in the book I try to explain the complexities and how drugs have been brought to market. I present a 21-point hypothesis on the cause and treatment of MS and what it will mean to cure the disease. I worked on the book for five years, which summarizes my 30 years of experience. The book is available on Amazon or in libraries and if patients or their families are interested in my very detailed views of the disease, I would suggest they take a look at the book.

MODERATOR:
Our thanks to Dr. Weiner for joining us today. And thanks to you, members, for your great questions. I'm sorry we couldn't get to all of them. For more information, please read Curing MS: How Science Is Solving the Mysteries of Multiple Sclerosis .



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