Overview: Improvements in magnetic resonance imaging and the advent of disease-modifying therapies in the past 15 years have changed the diagnosis and treatment of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disorder affecting the central nervous system. Accordingly, the nursing role has become more complex, involving advocacy, education, research, counseling, and medication administration. This article reviews the pathophysiology of the disorder, the available therapies to treat it, and the challenges patients face when making treatment decisions at various stages in the course of the disease.
Keywords: autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis, neurodegenerative diseases, neurologic diseases, nervous system diseases, relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis
This article outlines the pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis, the available therapies to treat it, and the challenges patients face when making treatment decisions at various stages in the course of the disease.
Marion Brandis Brodkey is director of Student Health Services, Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA. Aliza Bitton Ben-Zacharia is a neurology teaching assistant at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York City. Jennifer Decker Reardon is a nurse educator at Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco, NY. Contact author: Marion Brandis Brodkey, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marion Brandis Brodkey has disclosed no significant ties, financial or otherwise, to any company that might have an interest in the publication of this educational activity. Aliza Bitton Ben-Zacharia has been a paid consultant to or has participated in the speakers' bureaus of the following manufacturers of drugs mentioned in this article: Teva Neuroscience (glatiramer acetate), Biogen Idec (natalizumab), EMD Serono (interferon beta-1a), Novartis (fingolimod), Acorda Therapeutics (dalfampridine), and Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals (interferon beta-1b). LWW has reviewed and resolved all potential conflicts of interest. Jennifer Decker Reardon has been a paid consultant to and participated in the speakers' bureaus of Teva Neuroscience and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. LWW has reviewed and resolved all potential conflicts of interest.