Disease-modifying therapies

These are a class of drugs that impact the underlying disease. DMTs target some aspect of the inflammatory process of MS and appear to reduce the frequency and severity of relapses; reduce the number of new lesions in the brain and spinal cord as seen on MRI, and slow down the accumulation of disability. Decisions about taking a disease-modifying therapy are best made by carefully considering and weighing factors including individual lifestyle, disease course, known side-effects, and the potential risks and benefits of the different therapies.

Switching therapies

Due to the large number of different MS therapies currently available, as well as the fact that each therapy may have a different mechanism of action, people with MS should discuss their disease management plans with their prescribing physician.

Injectable medications
Avonex (interferon beta-1a)
Betaseron (interferon beta-1b)
Copaxone (glatiramer acetate)
Extavia (interferon beta-1b)
Glatect (glatiramer acetate)
Kesimpta (ofatumumab) 
Plegridy (peginterferon beta-1a)
Rebif (interferon beta-1a)

Oral medications
Aubagio (teriflunomide)
Generic teriflunomide products
Gilenya (fingolimod)
Generic fingolimod products
Mavenclad (cladribine)
Mayzent (siponimod)
Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate)
Generic dimethyl fumarate products
Zeposia (ozanimod)
Ponvory (ponesimod)

Infused medications
Lemtrada (alemtuzumab)
Ocrevus (ocrelizumab)
Tysabri (natalizumab)

Drug costs and reimbursement

The base cost of disease-modifying therapies for MS varies widely. The total cost of the medication will depend on the treatment selected, the dosage, provincial drug program pricing, pharmacy or clinic costs and dispensing fees. The level of drug reimbursement and access criteria varies from province to province and the MS Society is working to ensure that people who could benefit from treatment have access.

The Common Drug Review (CDR) at the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) is a pan-Canadian process for conducting objective, rigorous reviews of the clinical, cost-effectiveness, and patient evidence for drugs. Depending on the province, this can take anywhere from 8-24 months from initial submission to final recommendation. It should be noted that Quebec conducts its own review, independent of the CDR.

For more information about these therapies or for other information about MS management, please contact your physician or MS Navigator. MS Navigators are available to assist anyone in Canada from 8am to 8pm ET, Monday to Friday. Contact us today:

Phone: 1-844-859-6789

Email: msnavigators@mscanada.ca

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Outside of the navigator service hours, or if you prefer finding information on your own, you can use our website to find reliable information & support 24/7.