Plasma exchange is an alternative to corticosteroids for select MS patients. It is costly, time consuming and not an option if corticosteroids are otherwise effective. The risks include infection and blood clotting issues. Side effects remove steroids as an option for me. I assumed there were no other treatment options available. Knowledge is power. Knowing my options means I can be an active participant in my treatment plan.
Plasma exchange is not an on-going treatment and does not help secondary progressive or chronic progressive MS. It does help CIDP or “progressive weakness and impaired sensory function in the limbs.” (WebMD) Guidelines from 1996 have been updated in 2013. Read more at: http://www.webmd.com/multiple-sclerosis/news/20110119/guidelines-recommend-plasma-exchange-for-ms. The MS Society discusses plasma exchange at: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/about-multiple-sclerosis/what-we-know-about-ms/treatments/medications/plasmapheresis-plasma-exchange/index.aspx.
Image from Multiple Sclerosis Research at: http://multiple-sclerosis-research.blogspot.com/2012/12/research-plasma-exchange-and-jc-virus.html