An international study, led by the Clinical Outcomes Research unit (CORe) at Royal Melbourne Hospital and University of Melbourne, concludes the importance of early treatments of multiple sclerosis (particularly within the first five years of onset) holds extensive long-term benefits.
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The study was the first to provide evidence that current drug treatments delay the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) into its secondary stage which is described by an ongoing increase of disability involving the worsening of physical and mental capacity as well as the reduced quality of life. The crucial need to delay the progression represents an important outcome for individuals living with multiple sclerosis.
The research generated data from 1555 patients at 68 neurological clinics across 21 countries and highlighted the importance to treat MS pro-actively.
Multiple sclerosis is a condition characterized by areas of damage on the brain. This damage affects the covering that protects nerves (the myelin sheath).
Credit: NIH Genetics Home Reference
"People who converted from relapsing MS to secondary progressive MS experience gradual and mostly irreversible worsening of disability,” said Associate Professor and head of the MS Service at The Royal Melbourne Hospital and CORe at the University of Melbourne, Tomas Kalincik."Most of the therapies that we use to treat MS have no effect once people have converted to secondary progressive MS. This study shows us how important it is to treat relapsing MS early and pro-actively," Associate Professor Kalincik said.
Results of the study, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, were published in the international medical journal, JAMA. Associate Professor Kalincik believes that the results are reassuring neurologists and patients with MS. He states, "This study shows that the therapies they have been treated with for many years, significantly improve the quality of their lives over the long-term.”
Source: The Royal Melbourne Hospital