Multiple Sclerosis

Children and adolescents with multiple sclerosis (MS) receive treatment at our Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center. Our team works with each patient to develop a treatment plan, including long-term follow-up care specifically tailored to his or her needs.

When necessary, we collaborate with other specialists at UCSF or elsewhere to ensure that your child receives the most comprehensive care possible.

Because we are part of an international network of six pediatric MS centers sponsored by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, we have access to the latest information, research and treatments.

Currently, there is no cure for MS, although medications are available to help control the disease or slow its course. These medications have not been formally evaluated in patients under the age of 18, but these drugs help control the disease in adults and appear well tolerated in children and adolescents. Treatments include drugs that help children recover from MS flare-ups and that prevent MS flare-ups.

Treatments may include one of the following medications:

  • Beta Interferon — A group of drugs that help fight viral infection and regulate the immune system. In adult MS, beta Interferon reduces the rate of relapses.
  • Glatiramer Acetate — A drug that is believed to work by blocking the immune system's attack on myelin. In adults, glatiramer acetate also reduces the rate of relapses.
  • Immunosuppressive Drugs — Drugs to suppress or control the immune system.
  • Intraveinous Immunoglobulins — These drugs restore the balance in the antibody network of the immune system.
  • Methylprednisolone — These are high dose steroids that help prompt recovery from MS relapses.
  • Plasma Exchange — These drugs work to clear the blood from unwanted molecules, such as pathogenic antibodies.

You child may receive other medications to treat or control the symptoms of MS such as fatigue, pain, spasticity and tremors. His or her treatment may also include physical therapy, speech therapy and psychotherapy.

A regular exercise program that includes walking, swimming, stretching or riding a stationary bike can reduce some of your child's symptoms. Our physical therapists and staff can help your child improve walking ability, balance, range of motion and stamina.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Pediatric Brain Center

Multiple Sclerosis Center
1825 Fourth St., Fifth Floor, 5A
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-3939
Fax: (415) 353-3543
Appointment information

Patient Experiences