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Types of MS

Several types of Multiple Sclerosis, or “patterns of progression”, have been recorded to help predict the future course of MS and also to help make treatment decisions.

Relapsing & Remitting

RRMS – the most common disease course – is characterised by clearly defined attacks of new or increasing neurologic symptoms. These attacks – also called relapses or exacerbations – are followed by periods of partial or complete recovery (remissions). During remissions, all symptoms may disappear, or some symptoms may continue and become permanent. However, there is no apparent progression of the disease during the periods of remission. This describes the initial course for 80% of individuals with MS.


Secondary progressive

SPMS follows an initial relapsing-remitting course. Some people who are diagnosed with RRMS will eventually transition to a secondary progressive course in which there is a progressive worsening of neurologic function (accumulation of disability) over time. SPMS can be further characterised as either active (with relapses and/or evidence of new MRI activity during a specified period of time) or not active, as well as with progression (evidence of disability accumulation over time, with or without relapses or new MRI activity) or without progression.

Primary progressive

PPMS is where people never have remission after their initial MS symptoms. This happens in about approximately 10–15% of cases of MS.

Progressive relapsing

People who have a steady decline but also suffer distinct attacks have progressive relapsing MS. This is the least common of all the types of MS.

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