What are the Four Types of Multiple Sclerosis?

Relapsing-Remitting MS

  • Clearly defined attacks of worsening neurologic condition
  • Relapses, or flare-up attacks, followed by partial or complete recovery periods
  • No disease progression occurs during recovery periods
  • Close to 85 percent of initial patient diagnoses are relapsing-remitting MS

Primary-Progressive MS

  •  Slowly worsening neurologic function from initial diagnosis
  • No distinct relapses or remissions
  • The rate of progression varies over time with occasional plateaus and improvements
  • About 10 percent of patients diagnosed with MS have primary-progressive MS

Secondary-Progressive MS

  • It tends to develop following initial period of relapsing-remitting MS
  • The disease develops steadily during the course, with or without flare-ups, remissions or plateaus
  • Prior to disease-modifying medications, an estimated 50 percent of patients with relapse-remitting MS developed secondary-progressive MS within 10 years
  • Not enough data is available to determine if treatment significantly delays disease progression.

Progression-Relapsing MS

  • Steadily worsening disease from initial diagnosis
  • Clear attacks of worsening neurological function
  • Patients may or may not experience some recovery following relapses, but the disease continues to progress
  • This is a relatively rare type of multiple sclerosis, accounting for only 5 percent of patient cases.

Learn More from Shepherd Center

Please contact us at 404-352-2020 if you have additional questions about multiple sclerosis.