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Four Forms of Multiple Sclerosis

There are four different forms of Multiple Sclerosis: Relapsing-Remitting, Primary-Progressive, Secondary-Progressive, and Progressive-Relapsing. Relapsing-Remitting and Secondary-Progressive are the most common forms of Multiple Sclerosis.

Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis is the most common form of Multiple Sclerosis. People with this form of Multiple Sclerosis will have acute attacks (called a relapse) followed by periods of remission (when the disease does not progress and symptoms of the relapse is gone).  In this form of Multiple Sclerosis, the disease does not progress over time.

Many people with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis will develop Secondary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. People with Secondary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis will have fewer relapses, but the relapses will last longer and symptoms from the attack will become worse over time.

Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis is not as common as Relapsing-Remitting or Secondary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Primary-Progressive progresses very slowly and unlike other forms of Multiple Sclerosis there are no relapses or remissions: once the symptoms begin they do not go away.  The disease progresses over time.  This form of Multiple Sclerosis affects middle aged men more than women.

Progressive-Relapsing is not as common as other forms of Multiple Sclerosis. People are first diagnosed with Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, but will have relapses later. The disease does progress over time.

A rare form of Multiple Sclerosis is Benign Multiple Sclerosis. People who have Benign Multiple Sclerosis may have one attack and not have another one for over 10 years.

Additional resources that provide an overview of the four forms of Multiple Sclerosis:

Common Types of MS (Multiple Sclerosis Association of America)

What is MS (DrugDigest)

Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis – Understanding the Differences (United Spinal)

Additional resources that provide more information on Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis:

For People with Relapsing MS (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

What We Know About Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS) (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

Relapsing-Remitting (RRMS) (Multiple Sclerosis Society)

Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (Cleveland Clinic)

Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (Johns Hopkins Medicine)

Additional resources that provide more information on Secondary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis:

What We Know About Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS) (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (Cleveland Clinic)

Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS) (Multiple Sclerosis Society)

Additional resources that provide more information on Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis:

For People with Progressive MS (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) (Cleveland Clinic)

Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (Johns Hopkins Medicine)

Additional resource that provide more information on Progressive-Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis:[M1] 

What We Know About Progressive-Relapsing MS (PRMS) (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)