Multiple Sclerosis: Get a Second Opinion - dummies

Multiple Sclerosis: Get a Second Opinion

By Rosalind Kalb, Barbara Giesser, Kathleen Costello

Even those people who are seeing a multiple sclerosis (MS) specialist sometimes feel the need to get a second opinion. And MS specialists would be the first to acknowledge how much of MS care is a combination of art and science.

Given how many unanswered questions there are about MS, and the fact that none of the available treatments is completely effective in controlling the disease, doctors have differing opinions on how to handle just about every aspect of care.

Second opinions are particularly valuable in complex situations where the standard care or initial plan of attack isn’t working as well as you expect. For example, if your MS hasn’t responded adequately to any of the approved disease-modifying therapies, you may need to be given a combination of medications.

Or, if your symptoms haven’t been well-controlled with the first-line strategies, you may need to try something different. The second opinion may offer some useful insights or new ideas.

So, if you decide to get another opinion, you can ask your neurologist for the names of colleagues he or she respects highly, or you can contact the National MS Society (800) 344-4867 (800-FIGHT-MS) for recommendations.

The challenge for you is what to do with two different opinions. Ultimately, you need to rely on one person’s expertise. You may take the second opinion back to your own doctor and let him or her decide whether it’s a reasonable one to pursue. Or you may decide to stay with the second doctor.