In May 2012, the VA brought together three experts on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) from the VA's East and West Centers of Excellence in a satellite video broadcast. This video broadcast is an update on Disease Modifying Therapies (DMTs). The experts cover topics from what causes MS to current DMTs, the benefits and side effects, newly available oral DMTs, DMTs under development, and VA services for Veterans with MS. This video includes videos from Veterans with MS who relate their personal experiences: how they coped with the MS diagnosis, their views on DMTs, the importance of maintaining a positive outlook, and the support of their family and community. The target audience for the videos is primarily VA providers, but the information is very relevant and useful to Veterans, their families and other caregivers. For your convenience, we divided the 90 minute broadcast into shorter clips on specific topics. Click on any of the images or titles below to see the videos.
|Introducing three VAs MS experts who discuss DMTs
Three experts from the VA discuss disease modifying therapies for Multiple Sclerosis: Dr. Haselkorn, Dr. Bourdette and Dr. Bever. (4.5 minutes)
|What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Dr. Haselkorn and Dr. Bourdette explains the characteristics of MS - how it is diagnosed using MRIs and the two phases: the relapsing and progressive forms. (5 minutes)
|Veteran discussing her MS symptoms?
Veterans talk about MS symptoms which vary widely. VA MS experts comment on varying symptoms and stress that patients should continue to take their medication even when they don't have relapses. (5.5 minutes)
|What are disease modifying therapies (DMTs)?
Dr. Bourdette explains that DMTs are treatments which alter the course of MS and control the disease. They decrease the frequency and severity of attacks of MS. (4 minutes)
|How effective are "First Generation" DMTs?
Dr. Bourdette explains that interferons and glatiramer acetate are roughly equally effective. But effectiveness varies for different people. He also discusses side effects (3.5 minutes)
|How effective are "Second Generation" DMTs?
Natalizumab and fingolimod are more effective than the interferons and glatiramer acetate, reducing frequency of relapses by 60% compared to 33%. But side effects can be serious. (6 minutes)
|Callers ask the experts about DMTs
One caller asks how long it takes to switch drugs. Another caller asks about switching patients who are JC positive to Tysabri. (2.5 minutes)
|Oral MS medications – Fingolimod (Gilenya)
Dr. Bever reviews the risks and benefits of fingolimod—a new oral medication for MS. Clinical research has shown fingolimod to be effective, but it should be used with caution. (8.5 minutes)
|What are the costs of MS medication for the VA?
Dr. Bever discusses costs related to medications, side effects, and hospitalizations that the VA health system pays to care for patients with MS. (2.2 minutes)
|How to decide which DMT is best for a patient?
Three VA doctors talk about working with patients to decide on an initial therapy for MS—emphasizing the importance of choosing a medication that the patient will take as prescribed. (3.5 minutes)
|Veterans discuss their experiences with MS DMTs and the VA MS experts give their feedback
VA patients with MS share their successes and challenges with DMT. Three VA MS experts respond with tips for helping patients work through their anxieties about injections.
|Veterans with MS discuss the side effects of taking medications and VA MS experts give their feedback
Side effects are common with DMT. VA patients with MS share their experiences with side effects, and VA MS experts respond with tips on how to help patients cope. (4.1 minutes)
|When to consider changing MS DMT medications?
Dr. Bourdette explains what to consider before switching an MS patient's DMT—distinguishing between bothersome side effects and those that adversely affect quality of life or disease progression. (1.5 minutes)
|Call in questions on MS treatment from VA providers
VA MS experts answer common questions about topics including MRIs, Vitamin D, and fatigue—emphasizing that the best clinical approach will be different for different patients. (10.5 minutes)
|What are the other oral medications are in the pipeline?
VA MS experts discuss new oral medications being developed, including medications for treating disease progression and helping repair damaged nerve cells. (7.2 minutes)
|Veterans talk about their support systems
After hearing VA patients with MS talk about the importance of their personal support systems, VA MS experts describe the VA’s work to further support and engage patients. (4.2 minutes)
|Final comments and advice for people who have just been diagnosed with MS
Veterans with MS share insights that may be helpful for people newly diagnosed with MS, and VA MS experts emphasize progress developing new treatments. (4.1 minutes)
This and other satellite broadcasts are available for free on DVD. Go to this link to see the full set of DVDs available http://www.va.gov/MS/Products/DVDs or contact Dr. Marsha Tarver, Associate Director of Education, MSCoE-West email@example.com