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Find out what you need to know about MS.

Learning the basics of MS
can help you support your
loved one.


Educating yourself about MS is the first step to understanding and helping a loved one with their condition. Here are some basic topics to get you up to speed.


People with MS often feel isolated, but they are certainly not alone. More than 2 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with MS-including 400,000 people in the U.S.

  • While anyone can get MS, it is at least twice as common in women as in men
  • While people of all ethnic groups can get MS, it is more common in Caucasians of northern European descent
  • While people of all ages can get MS, it is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50


Before talking about the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), it's important first to understand what causes the MS disease process:

What causes the MS disease process: Overactive T- and B-cells multiply and then travel through the blood vessels into the CNS where they attack the nerves.

T- and B-cells are important because they help us fight disease. MS is an autoimmune disease where some T- and B-cells get the wrong message and also attack the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain and spinal cord. The damaged areas can form scar tissue (sclerosis), which gives the disease its name. These scars interfere with nerve impulses traveling through the CNS, which produces the variety of symptoms seen in MS.

See how AUBAGIO® (teriflunomide) is thought to work against MS

When looking at the effect MS has on the body, there are 3 key measures of MS disease activity:

  • Relapses
    Relapses are episodes that last at least 24 hours and often get better over time. Relapses can affect many different functions (vision, sense of touch, walking, balance, etc). Which symptoms develop depends on where the attack affects the CNS
  • Disability progression
    Over time, MS can make walking and other basic activities more and more difficult. This process is known as disability progression
  • MRI outcomes
    Lesions appear as spots on your MRI. These are areas of inflammation and/or damage to the CNS, including the brain. Sometimes, the disease is more or less severe than the number of spots on an MRI would suggest. There are a number of prescription treatments that have been shown to slow disability progression and reduce relapse frequency

See how AUBAGIO worked against these measures in a clinical trial


People with MS usually experience 1 of 4 distinct types of MS. Everyone experiences MS differently, so 2 people with the same type of MS may have very different symptoms. Note that AUBAGIO is only indicated for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS (RMS).

  • Relapsing-Remitting MS
    People with this type of MS have clearly defined attacks of worsening neurologic function. These attacks-which are called relapses or exacerbations-are also followed by partial or complete recovery periods (remissions), during which no disease progression occurs. Approximately 85% of people with MS are initially diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS
  • Progressive-Relapsing MS
    In this relatively rare course of MS (5%), people experience steadily worsening disease from the beginning, but with clear attacks of worsening neurologic function along the way. They may or may not experience some recovery following these relapses, but the disease continues to progress without remissions
  • Secondary-Progressive MS
    Following an initial period of relapsing-remitting MS, many people develop a secondary-progressive disease course in which the disease worsens more steadily, with or without occasional relapses, minor recoveries (remissions), or plateaus. Approximately 50% of people with relapsing-remitting MS developed this form of the disease within 10 years of initial diagnosis
  • Primary-Progressive MS
    This disease course is characterized by slowly worsening neurologic function from the beginning-with no distinct relapses or remissions. The rate of progression may vary over time, with occasional plateaus and temporary minor improvements. Approximately 10% of people are diagnosed with primary-progressive MS


MRI provides detailed images that allow doctors to learn more about what's going on inside the body than they can from a physical exam or an X-ray. Since MRI can reveal disease activity (seen as lesions in the central nervous system, like the brain or spinal cord), even if your loved one is not experiencing symptoms, his or her doctor may order an MRI on a regular basis (eg, every year) to monitor MS activity.*

* The exact relationship between MRI outcomes and disability progression in MS is unknown.

Types of CNS lesions

There are different types of lesions in MS, which doctors can identify by their appearance on MRI. These lesions can give your loved one's doctor a sense of how much damage has occurred, and how recently it occurred:

  • Gadolinium (Gd) enhancing T1 lesions
    These are short-term lesions that show new inflammation or current disease activity in the brain
  • T1 lesions or "Black Holes"
    These are long-term lesions that show the disease history and areas of brain tissue loss or scarring. Black holes can be permanent
  • T2 lesions
    These are long-term lesions that show the overall effect of the disease on the brain. Some experts think these lesions are the strongest MRI predictor of future disease progression

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AUBAGIO® (teriflunomide) is a prescription medicine used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).


Do not take AUBAGIO if you have severe liver problems. AUBAGIO may cause serious liver problems, which can be life-threatening. Your risk may be higher if you take other medicines that affect your liver. Your doctor should do blood tests to check your liver within 6 months before you start taking AUBAGIO and once a month for 6 months after you start taking AUBAGIO. VIEW FULL IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

Tell your doctor right away if you develop any of these symptoms of liver problems: nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, loss of appetite, tiredness, yellowing of your skin or whites of your eyes, or dark urine.

Do not take AUBAGIO if you take a medicine called leflunomide.

AUBAGIO may harm your unborn baby. Do not take AUBAGIO if you are pregnant or are of childbearing age and not using effective birth control. You should have a pregnancy test before you start taking AUBAGIO. After stopping AUBAGIO, continue using effective birth control until you have tests to make sure your blood levels of AUBAGIO are low enough. If you become pregnant while taking AUBAGIO or within 2 years after you stop taking it, tell your doctor right away and enroll in the AUBAGIO Pregnancy Registry at 1-800-745-4447, option 2, which collects health information about you and your baby.

If you are a man taking AUBAGIO whose partner plans to become pregnant, you should stop taking AUBAGIO and talk with your doctor about reducing the levels of AUBAGIO in your blood quickly. If your partner does not plan to become pregnant, use effective birth control while taking AUBAGIO.

AUBAGIO may stay in your blood for up to 2 years after you stop taking it. Your doctor can prescribe a medicine that can help remove AUBAGIO from your body quickly.

Before taking AUBAGIO, talk with your doctor if you have

  • Liver or kidney problems
  • A fever or infection, or if you are unable to fight infections
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet that is different from your MS symptoms
  • Diabetes
  • Serious skin problems when taking other medicines
  • Breathing problems
  • High blood pressure

It is not known if AUBAGIO passes into breast milk. Talk with your doctor to decide if you should take AUBAGIO or should breastfeed-you should not do both at the same time. Also talk with your doctor if you take or are planning to take other medicines (especially medicines for treating cancer or controlling your immune system) or if you take or are planning to take vitamins or herbal supplements.

Before starting AUBAGIO, your doctor should check your white blood cell count and perform a tuberculosis skin test.

You should not receive certain vaccinations during and for 6 months after treatment with AUBAGIO.

AUBAGIO may cause serious side effects, including

  • Reduced white blood cell count. This may cause you to have more infections
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet that is different from your MS symptoms
  • Kidney problems
  • High potassium levels in your blood
  • Serious skin problems
  • Breathing problems (new or worsening)
  • High blood pressure

The most common side effects of AUBAGIO include

  • Abnormal liver test results
  • Hair thinning or loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Flu
  • Upset stomach
  • Burning or prickling feeling in your skin

These are not all the side effects of AUBAGIO. Tell your doctor about any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Please click here for full Prescribing Information, including boxed WARNING and Medication Guide.

You are encouraged to report side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Do not take AUBAGIO if you have severe liver problems, are pregnant or are of childbearing age and not using effective birth control, or are taking a medication called leflunomide. VIEW MORE