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MS Infusion: Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Guide (2024)

Discover the essentials of MS infusion, a pivotal multiple sclerosis treatment. This guide delves into intravenous therapy, medications, and patient care.

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Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a complex neurological disorder, requires innovative treatments such as MS infusion therapy.

This article delves into the intricacies of this essential method for managing MS.

Explore how MS infusion therapy can significantly improve the quality of life for those affected by this challenging condition.

Key Takeaways:

  • MS infusion therapy plays a pivotal role in managing Multiple Sclerosis.
  • It involves the use of various medications like Ocrevus, Tysabri, and Lemtrada.
  • Understanding the mechanism, benefits, and side effects of these treatments is essential for patients and caregivers.
  • New infusions such as using mesenchymal stem cells has shown promise

Infusion Therapy for MS

MS treatment infusion procedures can be critical in managing Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a complex neurological disease. These treatments focus on controlling symptoms, reducing inflammation, and slowing disease progression.

However, it's crucial to discuss with your doctor the suitability of these therapies for your condition, considering the potential for rare but significant complications.

Key Infusion Treatments for MS:

  • Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus): Approved by the FDA in 2017, Ocrelizumab is a novel infusion treatment targeting both relapsing and primary progressive MS. Administered biannually through an intravenous (IV) infusion, it represents a significant advancement in MS treatment strategies.
  • Disease-Modifying Therapies: These therapies, delivered through infusions in medical settings, are designed to alter the course of MS. They play a crucial role in symptom management.
  • Therapies for MS Relapses: Targeting MS flare-ups, these treatments are given intravenously to control acute exacerbations of symptoms.

For a deeper understanding of infusion experiences, refer to the Ocrevus patient guide. For more information about Multiple Sclerosis and infusion therapy options, visit Infusion Associates.

Getting an Infusion for MS

Infusion therapy is a significant treatment option for MS, involving the intravenous delivery of medication. This method efficiently distributes medicine directly into the bloodstream, offering relief from symptoms and aiding recovery from MS attacks. The steps in an infusion treatment for MS are as follows:

  • Preparation: The treatment setting is made comfortable with amenities like heated blankets and Wi-Fi. Prior to the infusion, the physician will discuss the medication, potential side effects, and address any queries to ensure a well-informed experience. This preparation phase is integral for patient comfort and understanding.
  • Infusion Process: Medication is delivered via an infusion pump, which gradually drips it through a catheter into a vein. This setup is carefully secured, and the duration of the infusion varies, often providing relief before the session concludes.
  • Monitoring: Continuous monitoring is a critical aspect of the infusion process, ensuring patient safety and effective treatment administration. This is typically done in a doctor's office or a specialized infusion center.
  • Duration and Frequency: The frequency and length of infusions depend on the specific MS medication. For instance, Ocrelizumab requires two initial 300-mg infusions two weeks apart, followed by 600-mg infusions every six months.

It's crucial to consult with your healthcare provider to determine if infusion therapy is the right approach for your MS management. For further details on the MS infusion experience, visit Infusion Associates and Healthline.

How Does Infusion Therapy Work?

MS infusion therapy, an intravenous treatment, is a cornerstone in the management of various types of MS. It involves administering medications directly into the bloodstream, allowing for quicker absorption and response.

This form of therapy is particularly beneficial for disease-modifying treatments (DMTs), which are designed to reduce the frequency and severity of MS relapses and slow disease progression.

Infusion Therapy Medication for Multiple Sclerosis

The landscape of MS infusion therapy includes several key medications:

  • Ocrevus (Ocrelizumab): Primarily used for treating PPMS and RRMS.
  • Tysabri (Natalizumab): Effective for reducing relapses in RRMS.
  • Lemtrada (Alemtuzumab): Known for its efficacy in treating RRMS.
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells: New treatment has shown potential to slow progression and improve symptoms associated with  PPMS and RRMS

Each of these medications has a unique mechanism of action, targeting different aspects of the immune system to mitigate the effects of MS.

MedicationType of MS TreatedMechanism of Action
Ocrevus (Ocrelizumab)PPMS, RRMSTargets CD20-positive B cells
Tysabri (Natalizumab)RRMSPrevents immune cells from crossing the blood-brain barrier
Lemtrada (Alemtuzumab)RRMSTargets CD52 on lymphocytes

Side Effects of Infusion Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

While infusion therapies like Ocrevus, Tysabri, and Lemtrada are pivotal in MS management, they come with potential side effects. Common ones include infusion reactions, infections, and, in rare cases, more severe complications. Patients undergoing infusion therapy should be closely monitored by healthcare providers for any adverse effects.

What should patients expect during an MS infusion treatment?

The process typically involves a pre-infusion assessment, the infusion itself, which can last several hours, and a post-infusion monitoring period. Facilities specializing in infusion therapy provide a comfortable setting for this procedure, ensuring patient safety and comfort.

Infusion Treatment Drugs

In addition to Ocrevus, Tysabri, and Lemtrada, other drugs used in MS infusion therapy include:

  • Mitoxantrone: An immunosuppressive agent used in some forms of progressive MS.
  • Rituximab: Though not FDA-approved for MS, it's sometimes used off-label for its immunomodulatory effects.

These medications, part of a broader category of disease-modifying therapies, offer hope and improvement in quality of life for many MS patients.

Mesenchymal Stem Cell Infusion for Multiple Sclerosis

The potential use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in treating Multiple Sclerosis (MS) represents a promising frontier in medical science.

MSCs, known for their ability to differentiate into various cell types and modulate immune responses, offer a novel approach to MS therapy.

Unlike conventional treatments that mainly focus on suppressing the immune system, MSC infusion aims to repair and regenerate damaged neural tissues, potentially addressing the root cause of MS.


Researchers are exploring how MSCs can promote the regeneration of myelin sheath and modulate the immune system to prevent further damage to nerve cells. Early clinical trials have shown encouraging results, indicating that MSC infusion may reduce inflammation, lessen the severity of symptoms, and potentially slow down the progression of MS.

However, more extensive research and clinical trials are necessary to fully understand the efficacy and safety of MSC therapy in MS patients.

This innovative approach could redefine MS treatment, shifting the focus from symptom management to long-term disease modification and neural repair. As research progresses, MSC infusion may become a key component in the future of MS treatment strategies.


Ocrelizumab, marketed under the brand name Ocrevus, is a significant development in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). It is a humanized anti-CD20 antibody that targets B cells, which play a central role in the pathogenesis of MS.

B cells are involved in the activation of pro-inflammatory T cells, secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and production of autoantibodies directed against myelin, a substance that insulates nerve fibers and is damaged in MS.

Efficacy in Relapsing-Remitting MS

Research has shown that Ocrelizumab has a pronounced effect on radiological and relapse-related outcomes in patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). In two phase III trials (OPERA I and II), Ocrelizumab demonstrated decreased annualized relapse rates and fewer numbers of gadolinium-enhanced lesions on MRI scans compared to interferon beta-1a, a commonly used treatment for MS.

Breakthrough for Primary Progressive MS

Notably, Ocrelizumab is the first drug to lower rates of clinical and MRI-evidenced progression in patients with primary progressive MS (PPMS). In the phase III trial (ORATORIO), the percentage of patients with 12-week confirmed disability progression was significantly lower in the active treatment group than in patients receiving placebo.

Socioeconomic Benefits

In addition to its clinical benefits, Ocrelizumab also offers socioeconomic benefits. It is the only disease-modifying therapy (DMT) approved by Health Canada for the treatment of PPMS and offers substantial societal cost savings compared with best supportive care in patients with PPMS. More details on this can be found in this study.

Who Can Take Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus)?

Ocrelizumab is approved for patients with PPMS and RRMS. It's particularly effective in reducing relapse rates in RRMS and slowing disability progression in PPMS. However, its use requires careful patient selection due to potential risks and contraindications, which should be thoroughly discussed with a healthcare provider.

How Well Does Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) Work?

Clinical trials have shown Ocrelizumab to be effective in both RRMS and PPMS. In RRMS, it has demonstrated a significant reduction in relapse rates and MRI lesions. In PPMS, it's been shown to slow the progression of disability, a notable achievement as treatment options for PPMS are limited.

What Are the Side Effects of Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus)?

The side effects of Ocrelizumab can include infusion reactions, increased risk of infections, and, in rare cases, more severe complications. Patients should undergo regular monitoring, including blood tests and MRI scans, to ensure the drug's safety and effectiveness in their treatment regimen.

Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) and Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Contraception

Patients planning to conceive, currently pregnant, or breastfeeding should discuss the implications of Ocrelizumab with their doctor. The drug's effects on pregnancy and breastfeeding are not fully understood, making contraception and careful planning essential components of treatment for women of childbearing age.

Side Effects of the Infusion Process and Drugs

Besides medication-specific side effects, the infusion process itself can cause reactions. These include allergic reactions, fever, chills, and fatigue. Pre-medications and close monitoring during the infusion can help manage these effects.

Talk with Your Doctor

It's crucial for patients considering MS infusion therapy to have an in-depth discussion with their healthcare provider. This conversation should cover the potential benefits, risks, and what to expect during and after the treatment process.

Feel Supported Along Your Journey

Living with MS and undergoing infusion therapy can be challenging. Patients should seek support from healthcare teams, support groups, and MS organizations. These resources can provide valuable information, emotional support, and practical advice for managing life with MS.

Ocrevus Research for Relapsing Remitting MS

Ocrevus has been extensively studied in relapsing remitting MS (RRMS). Clinical trials, such as OPERA I and II, have compared Ocrevus with other treatments like Rebif (interferon beta 1a), demonstrating its superiority in reducing relapse rates and MRI-detected lesions. This research underpins Ocrevus's approval and its role as a first-line treatment for RRMS.

Ocrevus Research for Primary Progressive MS

In primary progressive MS (PPMS), the ORATORIO clinical trial showed that Ocrevus could slow the progression of disability. This finding is significant, as treatment options for PPMS are limited, marking Ocrevus as a breakthrough in this MS subtype.

Research has shown that Ocrelizumab has a pronounced effect on radiological and relapse-related outcomes in patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). In two phase III trials (OPERA I and II), Ocrelizumab demonstrated decreased annualized relapse rates and fewer numbers of gadolinium-enhanced lesions on MRI scans compared to interferon beta-1a, a commonly used treatment for MS

Guide to Decision Making

Deciding on the right MS treatment can be challenging. Tools like DMT decision aids help patients and healthcare providers assess the benefits and risks of various treatments, ensuring informed choices tailored to individual needs.

OcrevusReduces relapse, slows disability progressionInfusion reactions, infection risk
TysabriSignificantly reduces relapse ratesRisk of PML, liver damage
LemtradaLong-term remission in some casesAutoimmune disorders, infusion reactions

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does an Infusion for MS Take?

The duration of an Ocrevus infusion varies. The initial two infusions usually last at least 2.5 hours each. For subsequent infusions, if no serious reactions occurred previously, the process can be completed in about 2 hours. However, if there were past serious reactions, infusions will last at least 3.5 hours.

What if a patient experiences a serious reaction during the first two Ocrevus infusions?

If a patient has experienced a serious infusion reaction, future Ocrevus infusions will be administered over a longer period, typically at least 3.5 hours. This is to ensure patient safety and tolerance to the medication.

What to Expect After an Ocrevous Infusion?

After an Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) infusion, there are several key points to be aware of:

  1. Monitoring for Infusion Reactions: Immediately following the infusion, you'll be monitored for at least one hour for any signs of an infusion reaction. These reactions can be serious, including symptoms like itchy skin, rash, hives, coughing, or difficulty breathing. It's crucial to alert your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
  2. Post-Infusion Check-Up: Your healthcare provider will assess any side effects or reactions that may have occurred during the infusion. Absence of serious reactions may allow for a reduced infusion time for your next dose.
  3. Follow-Up Call: About four weeks after your infusion, you'll receive a call from your Patient Navigator. This call is to answer questions, confirm your next infusion schedule, and discuss ongoing support.
  4. Potential Shorter Infusion Time: If you haven't experienced serious reactions during your first two infusions, subsequent doses might be administered over a shorter period of 2 hours. However, if you've had a severe reaction before, future infusions will be extended to at least 3.5 hours.

What is the total time commitment for an Ocrevus infusion appointment?

The entire Ocrevus infusion appointment, which includes the pre-infusion check-up and post-infusion monitoring, generally takes around 5 to 6 hours. For more detailed information about Ocrevus infusion, please visit the Ocrevus Healthcare Professional site and

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