What Does “Benign” Multiple Sclerosis Really Mean?

Benign multiple sclerosis is a misleading and controversial term. Some neurologists do not recognize this as a form of MS at all. (Many people who meet the criteria for having benign MS will tell you that it certainly feels anything but benign.) Some believe that if people make it to 10 years without significant disability, they will not really progress to needing assistance to walk and may be able to stop treatment. Many others simply disagree with the classification and do not make treatment decisions based on a “benign” designation.

I sat in on one session at the 2015 meeting of the European Committee for Research and Treatment in Multiple Sclerosis, entitled “Long term course of apparently benign multiple sclerosis,” to see if the research was starting to clear the air.

The goal of this study was to compare disability progression in people who started out with benign MS to those who had more disability at 10 years after diagnosis. They looked at the Lyon (France) MS database and found 2641 people who qualified. At 10 years after diagnosis, 72% of the people could be classified as having benign MS. In this study, “benign MS” was defined as: “an irreversible Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score of 3.0 or lower at least 10 years after diagnosis.” According to the EDSS, a score of 3.0 means that there is “moderate disability in one functional system, or mild disability in three or four functional systems, but the person is fully ambulatory.”

A hallmark of progression to disability is an EDSS score of 6.0, which means that the person requires “intermittent or unilateral constant assistance (cane, crutch or brace) to walk 100 meters with or without resting.”

When the researchers looked at how people were doing 20 years after their diagnosis, about 60% of the people with non-benign MS progressed to an EDSS of 6.0, while only about 18% of the people with benign MS progressed to the same level.

Interested to see what other research showed, I looked at two other studies. In one study, entitled “Is it possible to predict benign multiple sclerosis?” researchers tried different criteria for “benign MS” to see if they could figure out the best predictors of who would not reach 6.0 on the EDSS. When they looked at an EDSS of less than or equal to 1.0 at 10 years after onset, they found that only 19.4% progressed to 6.0 by 20 years (similar to the first study).

A Swedish study, entitled “Long-term follow-up of initially benign multiple sclerosis patients: results from the Swedish multiple sclerosis register,” found that 28% of people who had been defined as having benign MS converted to secondary progressive MS (SPMS) at an average age of 66.5 years. 39% of people with non-benign MS converted to SPMS at 55.3 years old. Interestingly, people with benign MS reached an EDSS score of 6.0 at the average age of 79.3 years. People with non-benign MS had an EDSS score of 6.0 at 57.8 years.

Bottom Line: So, where does this leave us? Well, I went into this research hoping for some clear answers on what the designation of “benign” or “non-benign” MS really means for people living with the disease.  What I came away thinking is that it is not really a useful designation.

Most importantly, I remain convinced that no treatment decisions should be made on a random label of “benign” or “non-benign” based on an EDSS score at 10 years following diagnosis. As is evident, some people accumulate more disability quicker than others, regardless of where they start out. Trying to play a statistics game with an extremely variable disease like MS may not be terribly helpful.  However, continuing to do everything we can to live our lives to the fullest seems like a strategy we can all benefit from, regardless of any label that might include the word benign.

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Julie

Julie Stachowiak, PhD

Julie is the author of the Multiple Sclerosis Manifesto, the winner of the 2009 ForeWord Book of the Year Award in the Health Category. She is an epidemiologist who is also a person living with MS, Julie has an in-depth understanding about current research and scientific developments around MS. She also has first-hand knowledge of the frustrations and anxiety surrounding the disease, as she had MS for at least 15 years before receiving a diagnosis in 2003 and has had several relapses since her diagnosis.

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    36 Comments

  • Avatar
    maria1  Oct 10, 2015 3:37 PM
    Thank you for 'studying'. The statistics about the ms world give a good reference to consider, especially the part about living our life to the fullest. You have given us the best reason to to go for what we want, because the labels don't prove the future.
  • Cathy Manners   Oct 11, 2015 9:21 AM
    'Benign' M.S. is a tautology (contradiction in terms), the original diagnosis has to meet the MacDonald criteria which requires 2 discrete episodes separated over time and space, meeting the symptomatic profile with at least one lesion in the brain &/or spinal cord.

    Just because someone appears to be superficially well they will eventually deteriorate, MRI damage becomes irreversible if it persists long term. If they remain relatively unaffected that's extremely lucky, &/or the result of effective early intervention with the crab medications.

    The lesion/s may be in less problematic neural regions.
  • Mike   Oct 11, 2015 11:09 AM
    Having lived with MS for the last 15 years , to me MS is MS i don't care what you want to label it. The best thing you can do for you're self is get on a therapy and stay on it! Attitude, Therapy and a never give up school of thought seem to have served me best and i would recommend that to anyone with MS. That and if you are fighting this fight alone reach out don't go it alone. Many many support groups and forums,don't shut you're self off like i did for so many years. There are people out there that care. God bless
  • Sandra Hills   Oct 11, 2015 2:02 PM
    I appreciate your blog and article here. I was diagnosed this year at age 55 and am fairly unable to function as I pone very recently did. I am taking Tecfedera for month and half now and don't see much help yet. Would love to hear some good news and share with others in possible same boat. Would welcome any information from you.

    Thank you very much for being here..

    Sandi
  • Mike   Oct 11, 2015 2:30 PM
    I have lived with MS for about 14 years. The initial years after my first relapse were horrific and included multiple relapses, and an extended hospital stay for a relapse that affected everything imaginable: eyesight, hearing, sense of feeling, cognition, my ability to walk. While hospitalised in the midst of a relapse, I had an MRI which along with clinical presentations met the requirements for a definitive diagnosis of MS.
    In the meantime, the past almost 11 years I have not had any relapses. Several years ago my neurologist agreed to me stopping immunomodulatory medication although his consent was contingent upon my promise to continue quarterly follow-up visits and restart medication in the event of any hint of deterioration.
    This decision was not based on EDSS, but rather on stability in my MRIs and other tests. Even though my EDSS was and still is negligible, my doctor would only go as far as determining that I "may" have benign MS.
    But that is OK with me because for me the tag means little for me. Ultimately, what is important is my health and the long term stability in disease markers as evidenced by the MRIs, blood tests and no deterioration in clinical symptoms.
    I was fortunate to have been able to tackle my health head on and have managed to stay healthy. In fact, today I have never been healthier and as a celebration of ten years of not having a relapse I rode my bicycle earlier this year from California to Massachusetts.
    So, what worked for me? (1) Obtaining a quick diagnosis, (2) having faith that I am receiving the best medical treatment available and starting medication that worked for my body without delay, and (3) adopting a healthy lifestyle that included dramatically reducing stressors in my life, entering a supportive relationship and engaging in endurance sport and spending plenty of time outdoors.
    I should only be so fortunate that the stability in my MS will continue, whether or not I have "benign" MS or perhaps, optimistically, having been "cured" of my MS.
  • Theresa Grimes   Oct 12, 2015 4:36 AM
    I was diagnosed 18 years ago, the first few years where a total nightmare. It was like a roller coaster of symptoms, weakness, vertigo, seizures and bad side effects from the medications. The last 3 years have been better, I got personal control of my treatment with the help of my doctor. I still have bad days but not as before. I have scars on my brain and there is nothing benign about them.
  • prashantnikam31  Oct 12, 2015 11:15 PM
    Thank you for this.....
  • Sue Marsh   Oct 13, 2015 4:14 AM
    I've been undiagnosed with MS for 15years. Have to say it makes me angry, frustrated , worried and more. Pleases me to hear of some research in this area cause i think if we cant diagnosis it then we certainly are a long way from effective treatment. Benign? Really? for how long? we like to wait i'm told....I dont want to wait until i'm in a wheelchair for treatment but yes i've had no treatment and had no further exacerbations.........2 attacks separated by time and space. Lesions , 4 ,that obviously weren't there before. Bilateratel bells palsy, bilateral trigeminal neurlagia, bladder issues, sensory problems. The only treatment i've had is for pain for that i'm greatful as its severe and would make life unbearable. But i've been prescribed nothing preventative, i dont meet the criteria. One of the big issues was i wasn't getting enough sleep when my body started turning against itself. I now ensure i get plenty of sleep and try to ensure i have balance in my life between work and family and vitamin D.... and i wait.
  • Tanya   Oct 15, 2015 8:57 AM
    Your assessment on the term benign MS is spot on. MS is not benign if it interferes with how you function. As all MS informational sources state, the most common symptom with MS is lassitude, which from my experience prevents someone from fully functioning in work and life. In addition, depression can contribute to the inability to work and enjoy life's pleasures. So while the MS might be "physically" benign, there is nothing benign about it's impact on the monumental change that occurs in our everyday lives. It is only benign if it has zero impact.
  • Tanya   Oct 15, 2015 8:58 AM
    Your assessment on the term benign MS is spot on. MS is not benign if it interferes with how you function. As all MS informational sources state, the most common symptom with MS is lassitude, which from my experience prevents someone from fully functioning in work and life. In addition, depression can contribute to the inability to work and enjoy life's pleasures. So while the MS might be "physically" benign, there is nothing benign about it's impact on the monumental change that occurs in our everyday lives. It is only benign if it has zero impact.
  • Susan H. Fritz   Oct 15, 2015 9:26 AM
    I was diagnosed at age 55, solely because of dizziness and headaches and one lesion on my brain. The dizziness lasted about 3 months and went away completely. I never exhibited any symptoms after that and did treat with copaxzone and beta syrun for about ten years. I am now almost 20 years into MS so if that isn't benign I don't know what is! General old age does suck, however.
  • Kerry Bartley   Oct 15, 2015 9:53 AM
    I am in the middle of a diagnosis. I have three lesions in my brain. I have symptoms constantly. Fatigue, cognitive decline, weakness and occasional numbness. I have what my neurologist termed - probable MS... and he said once a diagnosis is definite he thinks I - more than likely - have benign MS. There is not need to treat. I occasionally have to use a cane because my ankle locks up and I trip over my own feet. I occasionally use a cane to slow me down and lean on when I am weak. I feel my cognition is getting worse at a steep decline than all other symptoms...last "relapse" was with my shoulder (treated with steroids) and that has never gone completely away. So I ask - how is this benign? Going of from the definition of benign MS - what is described in the article - It doesn't sound like what I have.
  • Larry   Oct 15, 2015 12:22 PM
    I’m 73 years old and likely had my first MS symptoms in my late twenties - pre MRI era. I was able to work until I retired at 59.

    I agree with other comments that reducing stress, healthy diet, exercise and a supportive relationship are all important.

    In my case MS drugs became major stressors.

    Benign MS is a fantasy. You either do or do not have MS - their is on / off switch for MS.
  • Larry   Oct 15, 2015 12:28 PM
    I’m 73 years old and likely had my first MS symptoms in my late twenties - pre MRI era. I was able to work until I retired at 59.

    I agree with other comments that reducing stress, healthy diet, exercise and a supportive relationship are all important.

    In my case MS drugs became major stressors.

    Benign MS is a fantasy. You either do or do not have MS - there is no on / off switch for MS. (corrected first post)
  • Jane Cashell, Ph.D.   Oct 15, 2015 12:53 PM
    The first time I heard my MS described as benign I was stunned. My brain doesn't work the way it used to, I hate hot weather, suffer from bad depression, and get tired easily. It doesn't disable me and I am extremely grateful for that. I work to stay healthy as I can. My neurologist convinced me to take Avonex(I hate the side effects!) because of the possibility of secondary progressive MS as I age. Thank you for the research summery on benign MS. I am somewhat reassured and wouldn't have discovered that information on my own.
  • Sharon Contrelli   Oct 16, 2015 9:31 AM
    Hi, I am 55 years old and have had MS since my early 20's. I had my saon at 34 and didn't walk for 5 years. I haven't had A relapse in 19 years. I stopped my Copanone injection about 3 months ago. Because of Liver damage. I've heard from Doctors and Pizer sometimes MS comes back sometimes not. Would anyone like to share a similar story and their outcome?
    Thank you,
    Sharon
  • Avatar
    samwhiteboston  Nov 4, 2015 9:44 AM
    Julie,
    You are such an inspiration. You combine the perfect balance of hard research with your personal story.
  • Gwen Barnett   Nov 18, 2015 2:02 AM
    I want you to know how much your blog comments inspire me. I first came across your notations while completing a proposal defense for a Ph.D.; however, I had to let that go due to complications from my MS. I have been diagnosed for 10 years and believe that I fit into this benign category. Although my thinking skills are still acute, other parts of me are not. Balance issues are much more difficult for me, along with vertigo. Thank you for looking into all aspects of MS, and if you ever (or have ever) explored either of these issues, please let me know your thoughts about them. Blessings!
  • JJ Steiner   Apr 22, 2016 9:35 AM
    I haven't had much more disability since being diagnosed in 1986.. just all my life I had been "clumsy".. accidents happened more often to me then to my sisters.. I was called clumsy.. I am not 61 and still ambulatory.. I do get the exhaustion if I try to do too much.. otherwise.. I'm still living and moving
  • NATALIE   May 16, 2016 4:12 PM
    I've had MS since I was 10. They discovered it during the exams at school they use to have to check for lice, vision and hearing. My parents never followed up and here I am at 43.

    I'm so grateful that it's gone undetected by doctors for this long. When I read about the treatments and take it easy and you might die I once again give thanks that I've never opened my fat mouth to say I have it.

    Don't get me wrong. My body goes out from time to time. I can't stand or get out of bed for an hour sometimes but by god I'm up and moving. Sleeping is hell to get comfortable. But I'm active, I don't let it remotely stop me from doing the ***** I love to do.

    You see once a doctor says you have a debilitating condition you lose the will to live. You lose the fight to get your ass out of bed. You let the vertigo fear you out of getting on a plane and viewing the Louvre or the museum of antiquities in Egypt. You just sit and waste and die. Have seen countless people let themselves waste away just because you "might" be bound to a wheelchair.

    They want you to take tons of medicine, spine injections, imaging. You'll spend more time in a hospital getting told ***** you already know. Your sick, you're in pain and there is no cure. Well no ***** lol.

    So I chose to LIVE! To see, to do, to feel. At some point I will need medication and care but right now I'm MOBILE and enjoying life. That's what it's about :-)
  • Sonia Hull   May 21, 2016 1:22 PM
    I so feel for you! I have had so many problems over the past 15 or 20 yrs. no one would listen to me. They just told me it was all psychological because they could not find anything wrong with me. I lost my job because I could not stay awake, I was so tired all the time.
    I had MS Hugs for weeks at a time but my GP said my lungs and stomach were becoming paralyzed from my diabetes. Sent me home to die. That was 11 yrs ago!!
    Finally 7 yrs ago a Neuro told me I had Beneign MS. I was so relieved to have a name for this "Monster" that had been attacking me! Now I could fight it. After 2 more years he started me on a new DMD med. I was doing better even though my symptoms were unchanged, I was not having anything new.
    Then out of the blue he decided to do an "LP"! I said ok. BUT IT TURNED INTO THE WORSE EXPERIENCE I COULD REMEMBER.!! I was stuck several times and had red hot searing pain all down my back, pelvis and legs. They finally got some bloody fluid!! But my pain, numbness etc. lasted for months and my Dr wouldn't even return my frantic calls!!
    Then he flat out told me and my daughter that I never had "MS and I should go back to the Dr that diagnosed me!!!" My daughter and I both told him at the same time that HE WAS THE DR WHO DIAGNOSED ME!! He had nothing to say then. My daughter was with me each time and she's a nurse in a federal clinic!!
  • Kemofin   Jul 31, 2016 4:17 PM
    Looking for advice.
    5-6 months ago I had symptoms which were predominantly achy muscles mainly in right leg and a cold sensation in the right foot. After a month or two, I had what I would call a peak in symptoms which had sweaty episodes at night, a vibrating in my upper torso and various odd feelings all of which were unpleasant. These lasted a few days and gradually fell away leaving me with intermittent tingles in left arm and an uncomfortable left leg. I have no balance problems, or bladder issues etc. I had scans of brain and c spine after picking a neuro which specialised in ms. Have just had the follow up and there was nothing at all to see in the scans. The symptoms are gradually disappearing with some days with nothing and others with slight feelings. The neuro said that given the clear scans and relatively mild symptoms, it may have been an infection of sorts in the cns, or if ms it could be a benign course of the disease. He didn't see the point in a LP. If it did show OB's, as the scans showed nothing, he would not recommend treatment as it is. He said people have a benign course and go decades without having any other symptoms, or if they do they are mild. He suggested that I get on with my life and basically see what happens.
    So....
    Is there such a thing as having an infection in the cns? Other than forms of meningitis!!!
    I must admit that if the leftover symptoms I have go and I do not have any other relapses. It does seem a bit silly to fill yourself with drugs!
    I have changed my lifestyle and follow the swank / oms diet as the facts and studies behind them or in particular the swank study seem to be more than any coincidence and it seems silly to not try something that appears to have such an effect.
    If I have another episode which results in further symptoms and investigations which then required treatment... I can then pursue what is needed.
    As with any illness, you have to be positive and not always look for the worst. I'm sure there are many people out there who do not even know they have ms and will never know b just shrug off the symptoms as nothing when they do come on.

    Here's to hope. Perhaps it was a one off... Perhaps I will have an incident free decade or more. I want to take the word of this guy, who has been involved in ms research and is a senior neuro and said that he sees people who present like this, sends them away and he does not see them back. (because he was right hopefully).
  • Jayne   Oct 4, 2016 7:04 PM
    I developed neurological symptoms 36 hours after giving birth to my 1st child (slurred speech, loss of gag reflex, tongue would only move to one side, absent plantar reflex, blurred vision) I was diagnosed with MS after MRI, no LP. Had IV steroids for 4 days, speech therapy, made full recovery within a month.
    At follow up 4 months later, I was advised not to have any more children as it may cause me to become quadriplegic. When my son was 18months, I went for a 2nd opinion. MRI showed more lesions, no symptoms. Went on to have 2nd child with no further symptoms. First child is 22 now and have never had any more episodes.
    I have been told there are other causes of demyelination eg migraines, smoking.
    My manager also has demyelination but LP was normal.
    Has anyone else experienced this?
  • Judy   Apr 21, 2017 6:54 AM
    Hi Julie. I too have m.s. I am now 60. I have had no new lesions in 9 years (I take really really good care of my health with the aid of my Integrative Dr.)
    My neurologist has been suggesting to quit taking Beta Seron for 4 years now......

    What are your thoughts? I get slight relapses still
    Thanks a lot!
  • Melissa   May 17, 2017 8:59 PM
    @Sandi...Hi. Just read your post. I am 40 now. I was diagnosed at age 27, 28 can't really remember. Lol. I would like to sharr with you some experiences. At the beginning it was hard, very hard. I tried multiple treatments and none worked. I had adverse reactions to all. I finally tried Tecfidera and it was amazing. Give it an opportunity to make an effect in your body. I have been blessed. I feel great and live a "normal" life. I have a wonderful group of physicians MS Comprehensive Care Center in Fl with Dr Rosenberg and Debbie Chandler. I hope you can believe that this too shall pass. Learn how to appreciate every moment of your life. Learn how to laugh at yourself and value the people that matter. God bless you Sandi. Everything will be ok.
  • Mindy   May 27, 2017 1:30 AM
    I have benign m.s. It started in1983. It is now 2017. I am very lucky. It has been 36 years, but I can tell the difference in me. My cognitive actions have been affected. So no most of the time you can't tell by looking at me but yes I can feel it.
  • Judith   Jun 15, 2017 11:22 AM
    I'm not sure what to do. My neurologist said to me, "So when do you want to stop taking Betaseron?" I'm 60. Have had M.S. for 15 years. No new lesions for 8 yrs. (I radically changed my lifestyle! )
    I tried no shot for 8 wks! Then got spacticity....went back on....
    What's up with this type of thinking?
    Thanks!
  • Holly Mitchell   Jul 25, 2017 11:55 AM
    2001 diagnosed with"benign" MS. My neurologist words not mine. Symptoms extreme vertigo, right side extremities effected with lose of some muscle tension. These symptoms resolved themselves in less than a month. No lingering effects, back to normal. Decline medical intervention. Fast forward 2016, general muscle soreness like you over did it at the gym, random pains and twitches. Also, a strange sensation of heaviness in the mornings like when you just get out of a swimming pool. MRI showed same lesions. These symptoms have faded to the point of not really noticing them, like back ground noise, no other problem. No interference with ADLs. So, how do you explain this huge gap. I am 64 now, still working, still no medical intervention.
  • Mrs. C.   Sep 1, 2017 12:51 PM
    Hello I have not yet been formally been diagnosed with MS, but am in the process of getting a proper diagnosis for what I refer to as "episodes" that I have had on and off for 15 years. I am 51, and it just recently dawned on me that these"episodes" may have been MS all along. I have 11 out of the 12 common symptoms, 6 out of 8 of the less common. The episodes have recently become more frequent and have increased in severity. Some examples: numbness in face and limbs, muscle weakness, especially in the legs, slurred speech and tremors.

    I did have a brain MRi this week which showed, I quote the radiologist from his report: "White matter: In each cerebral hemisphere, there are 4 sub-5 mm punctate white matter T2 hyperintensities. They are in the subcortical and central white matter. None of them are callosal, periventricle, ellipsoid, or otherwise suggestive of multiple sclerosis." So, he is basically saying that my particular white matter is NOT "typical" of MS. Can someone tell me if this necessary rules MS out, or could these MRI findings coupled with my numerous symptoms still possibly be MS?

    I saw a neurologist yesterday and I found him to be very dismissive. He actually reprimanded me and accused me of overreacting to his reflex test. Apparently I have hyper reflexes. I am not sure if that is also a possible symptom of MS or unrelated. Anyway, I did not have a good experience with him.

    Any suggestions or comments? Should I pursue a second opinion? Thank you.
  • Kim Forest   Oct 21, 2017 11:03 PM
    Hi,
    I have been told by my neuro. that I likely have 'benign' MS, after 17 yrs. of episodes
    and bi-yearly MRI's which show 5-6 lesions-I have stopped asking about results. He
    has stated that it is benign MS or he still isn't sure. He said it is because I do not show a sideways progression. I recently had 3 wks. of blurry vision in one eye and will see him this month. My vertigo is increasing with numerous other symptoms. My family has labelled me a hypochondriac due to the fact that I appear well, so I am not able to talk about this or expect support.
    I agree with the other comments-there is nothing benign about this. I just turned 58 and feel it is getting worse. Yikes. Is it too late to try meds?
    Thank you for this blog and the opportunity to talk about MS, in any form or stage. I haven't talked to anyone about this in many yrs.; and I feel better.
    Take care and bless you.
    Kim
  • Michael Scally   Nov 8, 2017 12:49 PM
    I was diagnosed with RR MS at age 52. My sister, Michele, is a year older and has had MS for 30 plus years.

    I am emailing you to help me understand how I have not had any MS symptoms for the past 3 weeks. I am 59 years old and haven't felt this well since I was diagnosed. Is this normal or benign MS?
  • Kelly   Jan 14, 2018 6:24 PM
    I may actually fit in a "benign" box. Diagnosed in 94 (optic neuritis), probably symptomatic in small ways since 91, one relapse in 2005 (about 4 months), and good since. I've never had a neurologist, never been on medications, and have managed with diet, exercise, supplementation, and meditation. In my life I have have had twins, another baby (15 months after), worked, and volunteered. I can currently run 5k, take on workout programs (i.e. p90x), do free weights, downhill ski, wall climb, and walk the dog for hours. Now I'm 48 and have had MS half my life. I guess we wait to see how I am at 55. I'll keep you posted.
  • Merlene   Jun 3, 2018 3:15 AM
    I have benign MS, had trouble in 1988. Numbness down one side followed by pins and needles, weakness etc. Followed by further troubles over a 3 yr period but nothing bad, then stayed reasonable well since except for some minor troubles. Used to live in sub tropical area but moved to temperate zone 18 yrs ago. This has helped I am sure, as the heat effected me. Now have Parkinsons disease for last 2 yrs,, which at least has some medication that helps. Mostly have trouble with balance, but keep myself fairly fit, play lawn bowls etc. I am turning 76 this month.
  • Colleen Krehely   Jul 11, 2018 9:48 PM
    When I was seven years old they were three weeks that I could not walk because of muscle pain in my bone pain in my hips. Then it 39 my whole body was screaming in pain in my joints. Now at 69 I feel weak and tired all the time. Now in the night for the last 10 years I have had spasms in my leg muscles throughout the night. They wake me up. They are not in my CALVES. They are in my thighs and energy thighs ankles and feet. I also get spasms in my flanks or mid drift. And in my neck. Could I possibly have some form of MS. Is it on the opposite side of the spectrum of Other immune diseases?
  • jennifer   Oct 9, 2018 1:08 PM
    if you have not had a relapse in a year or two will you still have all the side effects of MS?
  • Mark   Oct 30, 2018 4:44 PM
    I have been living with MS for more than 25 years. I have basically no progression of the disease and was told by more than one neurologist that i have a benign case. I have not even looked at any research for years. I take Copaxone daily and skip doses fairly frequent. After reading some of these articles about benign MS as being a myth I am concerned about my future. I think you are right though. Live your life to the fullest because you never know what tomorrow may bring.