Multiple Sclerosis Treatment in India

Last Modified: August 18, 2020  |   Created on: June 7, 2019
Brain, Neurology, Spine
The Multiple Sclerosis treatment cost in India for Autologous Hematopoietic Stem cell transplant is 20,000 – 25,000 USD. The cost for treatment with medication and drug therapy varies depending on the dosage required for managing symptoms and the disease course. Other factors which affect the cost include duration of hospital stay, room category, status of the chosen hospital and many others.”

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder which majorly affects the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. It is usually characterized by a range of neurological symptoms and gradual disabilities. The disease develop when the body’s own immune system starts to attack the myelin sheath which is the insulating cover that surrounds the nerve fibres. The neural damage results in disruption of various functions of the nervous system. The damaged tissues is scarred in multiple areas and appear as lesions, and this gives the disease its name – Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Multiple Sclerosis is the most common autoimmune nervous system disorder and leading cause of disability in children.People within the age group of 20 to 40 are more commonly diagnosed with MS and that’s when the first symptoms usually appears.

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What are the types of Multiple Sclerosis?

Each patient is affected by Multiple Sclerosis in a different way and it is difficult to predict the course of disease. National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the International Advisory Committee on Clinical Trials of MS in 2013 describes 4 basic types of MS, namely –

  1. Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) – In this, the initial symptoms of MS appear due to the damage and demyelination of the neural fibres. The inflammation cause a series of characteristic signs of the neurological disease and the episode usually last for 24 hours, but these do not meet the criteria for diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.
  2. Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) – This is characterized by well-defined neurological symptom flare-ups or attacks which termed as relapses or exacerbations. These are then followed by a period of days, months to years with no new signs or attacks which may seem like partial or complete recovery, called as remitting. Majority (around 80%) of Multiple Sclerosis cases are diagnosed at this stage.
  3. Secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS) – Majority of people with Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis over time, advance to Secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis – in which there is a steady progression or worsening of neurological problems. It can be with or without relapse of the symptoms and may have no definite period of recovery or improvement of symptoms (remitting). 50% of Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) without treatment convert to SPMS.
  4. Primary progressive Multiple Sclerosis(PPMS) – 10- 20% of Multiple Sclerosis cases develop Primary progressive Multiple Sclerosis, marked by a steady worsening of neurological functions from the onset of symptoms and with or without relapses or remissions.

What are the signs and symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?

The signs of Multiple Sclerosis may vary from person to person, depending on the type and severity of disease and the kinds of neural damage. A range of problems related to vision, movement, speech and swallowing, motor and sensory functions, can occur in Multiple SclerosisMS).
Some of the specific symptoms are – 

  • Fatigue or muscle weakness, 
  • Uncoordinated movement and difficulty in walking, 
  • Double vision, blurred vision or blindness in one eye, 
  • Bladder control issues, 
  • Loss of sensation, numbness or tingling feeling, 
  • Stiffness and spasms in muscles, 
  • Uncoordinated movement and problems with balance, 
  • Problem with cognitive process – thinking, organizing, planning, etc., 
  • Emotional problems like depression, anxiety, etc.,
  • Difficulty in sexual response. 

Depending on the type of Multiple Sclerosis, the symptoms can vary and may come and go in form of attacks or worsen as the disease advances and there may be permanent damage.

What causes Multiple Sclerosis?

While the cause of Multiple Sclerosis is not known yet, it is believed to be linked to genetic predisposition, immune system abnormalities and environmental factors. The risk factors may include:

  • Gender: Women are over 2-3 times more likely tohave relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis than men. 
  • Genetics: Family history can be linked to Multiple Sclerosis as it is observed that one is at a higher risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis if a relative is having it. Though it is not considered a hereditary disorder, specific genes are linked to the disease which can increase the probability of developing the disease. 
  • Infections: Certain viruses have been linked to Multiple Sclerosis, such as Epstein-Barr virus, which causes infectious mononucleosis. People who have been infected by this virus are more at risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis than those who have never been infected. 
  • Geography: Multiple Sclerosis is more prevalent in people living in Northern Europe and other areas which are away from equator while the one from Asia, Africa or Native America have the lowest risk. 
  • Vitamin D: Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk of Multiple Sclerosis. 
  • Immune Disorders: People with thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and certain other are also at a comparatively higher risk of Multiple Sclerosis. 
  • Smoking: Smoking is also a risk factor for Multiple Sclerosis, especially in those who have experienced an initial episode of symptoms for Multiple Sclerosis.

How can Lyfboat assist you getting treatment for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment in India?

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Lyfboat is a free advisory platform; we do not charge any fees from patients. In fact, we negotiate the price that Indian hospitals offer. In some cases we are able to reduce the cost by negotiating upto 20% of what Hospitals generally offer. We advise the best treatment from the top hospital/surgeon at best price.

What are the diagnostic tests for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment?

Multiple Sclerosis is most commonly diagnosed in people of age groups of 20-30, but it is important to keep in mind that it can develop at any age. There is no single definitive test, as of yet, to determine if a person has Multiple Sclerosis.
A doctor uses various methods to diagnose the disease – 

  • Neuro-imaging – MRI of the brain can show regions of demyelination or lesion, 
  • Neurological exam – tests of cranial nerves, reflexes, coordination, sensation, balance and walking. 
  • Cerebrospinal fluid analysis – It is done to check for oligoclonal bands and other substances which may indicate chronic inflammation of the nervous system. 
  • Blood test – No specific blood test for MS, but it is used to rule out other causes.

The strategy is to rule out other possible causes for the disorder and check if the symptoms and test results meet the criteria for diagnosing meet Multiple Sclerosis.

What are the different types of Multiple Sclerosis Treatment performed by Indian Hospitals?

Although, there is no complete cure for Multiple sclerosis, certain therapies are available to manage the symptoms in the patient and cope with disability.
The treatment is focused on slowing the disease progression, increasing the remittance period (no neurological episodes) and making the symptoms manageable.
The disease-modifying drugs or therapies are the long-term treatment for MS but cannot cure the disease itself but only aid in slowing the progression and preventing new attacks. For short term treatment – only to relieve symptoms, drugs such as corticosteroid are known to be effective. 

Disease-modifying Therapy

The disease modifying drugs prevent symptom flare-ups and delay the advance of the disease. They work by preventing the immune system from attacking the myelin sheath that covers the neurons, which is the effective cause of the disease. These drugs can be given in the form of injection under the skin or muscles or as oral pills. The injectable medication includes:

  • Beta-interferons: These are the most commonly prescribed medications for treatment of MS. They reduce the frequency and severity of relapses or flare-up of symtoms. 
  • Glatiramer acetate: This drug helps by blocking the attack on myelin sheath by the body’s immune system. This is injected beneath the skin. 

The side effect of using injectable medications is that they may cause skin irritation at the injection site. 

The Oral medication for Multiple Sclerosis:

These drugs are taken orally by the patient as per doctor’s prescribed dosage and can help in reducing relapses. 

  • Siponimod
  • Dimethyl fumarate 
  • Teriflunomide

 For RRMS in children (10-17) medication, there is only one approved disease-modifying therapy.

Infusion based medications for Multiple Sclerosis

The infusion drugs are given directly into the veins by the doctor once in a few months.

  • These include Natalizumab and ocrelizumab (MSOcrevus™) – the approved medication for primary-progressive. These drugs are used when others don’t work. Their function is to prevent the immune system from attacking the neurons in the brain and spinal cord. 
  • Mitoxantrone is given in case of secondary-progressive MS and is basically been chemotherapeutic drugs used for treatment of cancer.
    Adverse effects of using medication

The problem with disease-modifying drugs is the adverse effects related to major CNS and cardiovascular system, and prolonged usage may lead to life-threatening diseases. The side-effects of these medications include headache, back-pain, diarrhoea, abnormal liver tests, nausea, high blood pressure and hair loss, among others. Some more adverse effects like liver damage, infertility, acute myeloid leukaemia, etc. have also been noted.

Treatment of Symptoms 

A wide variety of medications are also available to manage the symptoms and vary depending on the kind of symptoms.

Corticosteroids: Most commonly used steroids for MS can be given orally as well as intravenously. These may reduce nerve inflammation and manage the flare-ups. Side effects for these include increased blood pressure, mood swings, insomnia and fluid retention. 

Plasma exchange (plasmapheresis): It is used when steroids don’t work. Plasma, the liquid part of blood, is removed and separated from blood cells. The blood cells are sent back into body after mixing with protein solution called albumin. Plasma exchange may be used if your symptoms are new, severe and haven’t responded to steroids.

Managing MS signs and symptom 

Physical therapy can help in strengthening and improving the muscle tone. The exercises and stretching with the help of mobility devices can help manage leg weakness and make it easier to perform daily tasks. 

Medications for managing symptoms

  • Muscle relaxants: help with muscle stiffness or spasms
  • Fatigue and weakness 
  • Depression: Antidepressants are used
  • Bladder problems  
  • Drugs to increase walking speed in MS patients  
  • Neuro-rehabilitation, counselling and exercising is recommended for improving the symptoms and disability. 
  • Medications also may be prescribed for depression, pain, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, and bladder or bowel control problems that are associated with MS. 

Lifestyle Changes

  • Getting good sleep and plenty of rest is essential.
  • Regular exercise: It is recommended as exercise can help improve muscle strength, balance and coordination. 
  • Avoid heat as Multiple Sclerosis symptoms may worsen in some people as the body temperature rises. Using cooling devices can prove to be helpful. 
  • Balanced diet: A wholesome and nutritious diet should be taken. According to researches, vitamin D may have certain benefit for people dealing with Multiple Sclerosis. 
  • Manage stress. Stress can be the trigger behind symptoms or may worsen the existing ones. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing and other such activities which help you relax are suggested.

Alternative Treatment: Stem Cell Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

Stem cells Transplant for Multiple Sclerosis is a proving to be a promising treatment option with positive results in preventing Multiple Sclerosis progression. Hematopioetic Stem Cell Transplant is one of the treatment approaches for Multiple Sclerosis which aims to improve the disease course and prevent neurological episodes. Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder, caused when the white blood cells attack the nerve cells in the body. The Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (AHSCT) is a procedure in which patient’s own hematopoietic stem cells (develop into blood cells) are taken out and preserved. These stems cells are at an early stage and can develop into white blood cells that do not harm the myelin sheath. These are then injected back into the patient’s body with objective to reset the immune system. The therapy can lead to improvement in neurological symptoms and medication-free period for the patient with Multiple Sclerosis. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Multiple Sclerosis Treatment in India

Q. How much does Multiple Sclerosis Treatment cost in India?

The Multiple Sclerosis treatment cost in India for Autologous Hematopoietic Stem cell transplant is 20,000 – 25,000 USD.

Q. What are the most common symptoms of MS?

Although symptoms of MS are mostly unpredictable and vary for every patient, they typically include the feeling of numbness and tingling, fatigue, double or blurred vision, imbalance, poor coordination, depression, and trouble with memory and concentration. The symptoms may change over time or disappear/remit completely, or they may persist and worsen as the disease progresses.

Q. Is MS a life-threatening condition?

With appropriate and timely treatment, most MS patients are able to have a full life with a good life expectancy. A small number of patients may experience the rapidly progressive type of MS, which may result in a more severe health problem at an early stage. Some patients, especially those who are significantly inactive, may experience some typical complications due to a prolonged chronic illness, including infection or pneumonia.

Research studies have shown that individuals with relapsing forms of MS when to begin treatment at an early stage with a disease-modifying therapy and other treatment options, may have a longer life than those who do not take treatment.

Q. Can MS be inherited or contagiously spread?

No, MS is not directly inherited or contagious. Genetic and certain environmental factors may increase the risk of the disease.

Q. Can MS be completely cured?

MS does not have a definite cure yet, but the available treatments options aim to alleviate the disease symptoms, improve patients’ quality of life and increase life expectancy.

Q. How is ALS different from MS?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Multiple sclerosis (MS) are two different types of diseases that have some common features and symptoms.

The key difference between the two is that MS is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system starts attacking the body itself, while ALS is a neural disorder in which the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord begin to wears away. Both these diseases are treated in a different manner.

Best Hospital for Multiple Sclerosis in India

The Best Hospitals for Multiple Sclerosis in India are the world-class healthcare facilities with uncompromised dedication towards treating the patients. The hospitals have been accredited by national and international bodies for maintaining impeccable standards of quality and safety. Indian Hospitals are amongst the top destinations for international patients to avail medical treatment from internationally renowned doctors and at an affordable cost.

The best multiple sclerosis doctors in India are highly qualified and trained specialists with years of experience. Dr. Rahul Bhargav is one of the best hematologists in India who offers stem cell therapy for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.

Happy Lyfboat Patients

Last Modified: August 18, 2020  |   Created on: June 7, 2019
Brain, Neurology, Spine
Dr. Surbhi Suden

Written By Dr. Surbhi Suden

Dr. Surbhi Suden is one of the founders of Lyfboat and a doctor with a renowned name in the Medical tourism industry. She has been working with international patients since 2008 and is a deeply committed professional with a long term vision of transforming the current healthcare scenarios.
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