New report pushes need to take action quicker at all stages of Multiple Sclerosis

Written by Alice Weatherston

An international, multidisciplinary board of experts have called for the acceptance and urgent adoption of a novel therapeutic strategy to maximize extended brain health in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients. The strategy recommendations, which are detailed in the ‘Brain health: time matters in multiple sclerosis’ report, were presented yesterday at the 31st Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) (Barcelona, Spain, 7–10 October 2015).
The new strategy adopts a comprehensive approach to MS management including early intervention, clear treatment targets, regular monitoring and improved access to disease-modifying therapies (DMTs), but also places an emphasis on healthy lifestyle and avoiding or treating significant comorbidities.

Despite both evidence and guidelines indicating that the use of DMTs is most effective at the early stages of the disease, the initiation of treatment is frequently delayed and is often subject to tight restrictions on licensing, prescribing and reimbursement.

Key recommendations of the report include reducing delays in treatment initiation, setting treatment and management goals to ensure the best outcomes for MS patients, and using and expanding the current pool of evidence on therapeutic options and disease management. Importantly, the report also calls for full access to available DMT’s for all individuals with relapsing forms of MS and for their involvement in key decisions regarding commencing or switching of treatment when MRI or other clinical evidence indicate disease activity.

Maggie Alexander (European Multiple Sclerosis Platform) commented on the report: “This is a timely, challenging report that sets out important policy recommendations with the potential to have a significant impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people affected worldwide by multiple sclerosis.”

Marco Aurélio Lana-Peixoto (Brazilian Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis) added: “This report is an outstanding milestone to guide clinicians to approach MS appropriately, according to the most recent scientific evidence.”

Source: Brain health: time matters in multiple sclerosis press release