Talking to your health care provider
Which relapsing MS treatment is right for you?
When considering a relapsing MS therapy, you may want to ask your health care provider the following questions:
Has it been proven to achieve all 3 key treatment goals in relapsing MS:
- Slows disability progression.
- Reduces relapse rates.
- Reduces active brain lesions on the studied MRI measures.
The exact correlation between MRI findings and the current or future clinical status of patients, including disability progression, is unknown.
- Has it been proven to work better than another MS therapy in a head-to-head clinical study?
- Does it have a well-established safety profile?
- Does it offer product features designed for flexibility?
- Will there be support for me when I take the therapy?
Tips for better communication with your health care provider
Have you ever left an appointment and realized you forgot to discuss questions or thoughts you might have had? Are you overwhelmed by some of the language your health care provider uses to discuss your test results or your MS?
The average appointment with a neurologist lasts between 30 and 45 minutes, and the time goes by quickly. If you enter the doctor's office with a specific agenda in mind, then you'll have a better chance of leaving the office with a sense of accomplishment." —Jennifer Smrtka, MS, APRN-BC, ANP; Jennifer Smrtka is sponsored by EMD Serono, Inc. and Pfizer Inc.
Want more tips to talk to your doctor? Hear tips from an MS neurologist.
Here are some ideas to help make conversations about MS with your health care provider more productive:
- Bring a friend with you. It can help to have another person listen to your health care provider and take notes to help you remember the details later.
- Write your questions down ahead of time. Prioritize the top three questions you'd like to ask during your appointment, and remember to take notes at the appointment.
- Ask your health care provider to explain anything you don't understand. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
- Try not to downplay your symptoms or feelings. Remember, the people on your health care team are experts in caring for people living with relapsing MS—try to tell them exactly how you are doing.
- Ask about follow-up. Is it best to get in touch by phone or email, or should you plan another visit?
- Keep all your medical records in one place. Store your appointment notes, invoices, test results, treatment journal, etc in a binder or box, so you can refer to them quickly and easily.
You may also find it useful to assess how you're doing a few days before your next appointment. Use the Symptom Guide or Treatment Guide to create a report that you can take with you to your next appointment.
Call MS LifeLines® toll-free for more support at 1-877-447-3243.