Is it true that after a certain age, you don't have to take any MS drugs (I'm on copaxone at the time) (and I am 67). I heard that after awhile the immune system "settles down" or something like that. If true, when is it safe for me to stop? Thank you!
It is true that relapses and new lesion development on MRI both get less frequent with age, especially over the age of 60, but there is little evidence that treatment effects wane with age. In fact there is very little data to either support or refute the use of disease modifying therapy in older populations, because most studies do not even include patients over the age of 60. The current recommendation is to base treatment decisions based on individual disease characteristics not on arbitrary age cut offs. If a person has active disease or is at significant risk of active disease, then the therapy is warranted regardless of age group. By the way active disease means relapses and/or new lesion lesion development on MRI.
Revere (Rip) Kinkel MD
Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Program
Professor of Clinical Neurosciences
University of California San Diego