Corticosteroid treatment in multiple sclerosis


It is possible that, in the event of an outbreak, the doctor will propose a treatment with corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are generally well tolerated, but it is important for people with multiple sclerosis to know how they work and what side effects they can cause.

The most common type of multiple sclerosis is relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). When people with RRMS have a flare, they may come across different medical recommendations.

If the symptoms of the new outbreak are mild, the doctor may recommend that you not follow any treatment since, although the process may be slow, the recovery will be the same. Another recommendation may be to do a rehabilitation treatment, especially when motor problems appear.

What are corticosteroids?

Corticosteroids or corticosteroids are a type of hormones produced by the adrenal glands. These hormones play a fundamental role in regulating different functions of the body.

Glucocorticoids are a type of corticosteroid that have very diverse functions, such as regulating carbohydrate metabolism and suppressing inflammation. When the activity of endogenous glucocorticoids is insufficient, they are administered artificially to treat various diseases.

What is its effect?

In people with autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks its own healthy tissues as if they were viruses or bacteria. In the case of multiple sclerosis, the attack takes place on the myelin fibers.

Glucocorticoids block inflammation, reducing the production of certain types of white blood cells and the release of enzymes involved in the process.

What conditions do they treat?

They treat conditions caused by inflammation: asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, Crohn’s disease and other types of inflammatory bowel disease, eczema and other skin conditions, tendonitis, lupus and also multiple sclerosis .

People who receive organ transplants are also treated with glucocorticoids to avoid the rejection reaction.

Types of treatments

There are many types of glucocorticoids, and one or the other is used depending on the condition. Thus, cortisone is often used to relieve joint inflammation, triamcinolone to treat skin conditions, budesonide for autoimmune diseases that affect the digestive tract, and prednisone or dexamethasone to treat allergies, arthritis, asthma, vision problems and many other conditions. .

In multiple sclerosis, the glucocorticoid most commonly used to treat flare-ups is methylprednisolone, which can be taken as a tablet or by intravenous infusion (1000 mg daily for 3 to 5 days).


Treatment can cause mood swings. It is recommended that family and friends are informed to facilitate their management.

In multiple sclerosis, corticosteroid treatment is not administered for a long time. In any case, if necessary, your neurologist will assess the risk-benefit balance of repeatedly administering corticosteroids.


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