Photo: Woman with MS talking to health care professional

Early treatment

Scientists agree that, instead of waiting to see if more MS relapses occur, disease modifying therapies (DMTs) should be offered as close as possible to diagnosis.

Why is early treatment important in MS?

We know early treatment improves long-term health and wellbeing by slowing down the build up of irreversible damage and reducing the number of relapses people experience.

Starting treatment early is best but if you start later it can also have some benefits.

Questions about treatments?

Deciding whether you want to treat your MS, or how, can depend on many factors. It’s as individual as you are. Our Treatment Stories are honest accounts from people with relapsing MS about how they made a decision about treatment. Read more about treatment choices

What did people used to think about treating MS?

Experts used to think that when a person with MS had a ‘relapse’ it meant symptoms appeared and/or quickly got worse and then went away (or ‘remitted’).

Thanks to wider use of MRI scanning, we now have evidence that when symptoms get better, the damage that MS causes often doesn’t stop. So even when someone with MS is not having a relapse, MS may carry on attacking their body. This could lead to nerve damage that can’t be put right.

This evidence changed what we understand about MS and how to treat it. Rather than waiting to see whether more relapses occur, DMTs should be offered as close as possible to diagnosis, before damage to the body has built up.

What does this mean for me?

If you'd like to explore your treatment options, we recommend that you speak to your neurologist or MS specialist, so you can decide what's right for you.

If you don't have a neurologist or MS specialist, you should visit your GP and request a referral.

Download our checklist for talking about treatments