A growing amount of evidence suggests that a disturbance of immunological function is of importance in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis. This is reflected in the drugs used to slow progression and to treat relapses. Immunosuppressive drugs such as azathioprine, cyclophosphamide and cyclosporin might have some potential to slow down progression of multiple sclerosis, but their use is limited by potentially serious adverse effects. Recently, it was shown that interferon-β-1b can diminish the exacerbation rate in multiple sclerosis without leading to unacceptable adverse effects. Nevertheless, symptomatic treatment remains of crucial importance in the management of multiple sclerosis patients. Spasticity, depression, fatigue and urinary, paroxysmal and sensory symptoms can all be alleviated to some extent with pharmacological interventions, although rehabilitation procedures and psychosocial consultations are no less important. Further therapeutic approaches to multiple sclerosis will be directed at either the specificity of the immune response or the grade of activation of the immune response. Magnetic resonance imaging techniques will play an important role in the evaluation of efficacy of new therapeutic agents.