A new American Academy of Neurology (AAN) guideline recommends that multiple sclerosis (MS) patients in general be counseled to start treatment with disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) as early as possible.
Considerations on switching and stopping treatments are also presented in the guideline.
The report, “Practice guideline recommendations summary: Disease-modifying therapies for adults with multiple sclerosis: Report of the Guideline Development, Dissemination, and Implementation Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology,” was published in the journal Neurology, and presented at the 2018 AAN Annual Meeting, which took place April 21–27 in Los Angeles.
Unlike treatments that help to control MS symptoms, DMTs aim to alter disease course by reducing the number of relapses and slowing disease progression.
“The treatment landscape for people with MS has changed dramatically over the last decade,” Alexander D. Rae-Grant, MD, the guidelines’ lead author with the Cleveland Clinic, said in a press release. “We now have a number of disease-modifying therapies to choose from that may help treat MS by changing how the disease affects people over time by slowing the disease process.”
AAN experts reviewed scientific studies on the use of DMTs for MS. They aimed to develop recommendations on starting, switching, and stopping DMTs in patients with relapsing-remitting, secondary progressive, or primary progressive MS, as well as isolated syndromes of demyelination, which refers to the loss in nerve fibers of the protective layer called myelin.
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