Condition: Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition caused by the body’s immune system attacking itself. This causes patches of inflammation in the brain and/or spinal cord.
It is characterised according to the progression of disease where symptoms may come and go (relapsing) or there is progressive worsening of symptoms with acute flare-up (progressive).
MS affects around 1 in 600 people in the UK.
Symptoms vary between different people with MS depending on which aspects of the nervous system their condition affects.
People may commonly present with the following symptoms:
- Pain behind the eye associated with one sided vision impairment;
- Tremors or spasms of the muscles;
- Altered sensations or tingling beneath the skin;
- Tiredness and fatigue;
- Weakness or paralysis of muscles.
The exact cause of MS is not known. It is thought to occur as a result of complex interactions between a person’s genes and their environment.
People with a family member with MS are more likely to develop MS themselves.
It is most common in regions with low sun exposure, such as the UK.
MS is diagnosed by a specialist doctor by speaking to a patient to understand their symptoms in full and by performing a thorough examination.
In addition, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the brain and/or spinal cord can aid in making a diagnosis.
In some cases, examining the fluid around the spinal cord helps to make a diagnosis. In this test (lumbar puncture) a needle is inserted into the lower back under local anaesthetic to look for special proteins in the fluid.
Multiple Sclerosis Treatment
There is no cure currently for MS, therefore treatment aims to slow progression of disease, treat relapses and improve symptoms.
Medications that aim to slow disease progression are immunosuppressant medications (e.g. teriflunomide, interferon-β) that are started in a specialist setting.
Relapses are treated with a short course of corticosteroids.
Symptomatic management is usually aimed to reduce symptoms of spasticity, bladder dysfunction, and pain.
Sativex® (nabiximols), a medicinal cannabis product, is a licensed treatment for MS-related spasticity in the UK.
Other medicinal cannabis products can be considered when first line therapies have not achieved adequate benefit in improving symptomatic management.
Arrange a Referral
At Sapphire London we operate on a doctor to doctor referral basis. We accept referrals from GP’s and consultants. This is to ensure that the patient’s condition has been fully assessed by a qualified physician and all other treatment options have been attempted.
For doctors to refer a patient to us, please click here to fill and securely submit a referral form.