Treating primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) patients with Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) can help to preserve strength and function in their hands and the arms, analysis of data from a Phase 3 trial found.
The research, “Ocrelizumab reduces progression of upper extremity impairment in patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis: Findings from the phase III randomized ORATORIO trial,” was published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal.
A gradual loss of function and dexterity in the upper extremities — the hands and the arms — is common to all MS patients, but thought to be particularly prevalent in those with progressive disease. Given the importance of upper extremity (UE) use to these patients, particularly those with walking and gait limitations, maintaining hand and arms function is key to a quality life, employment, and independence.
Doctors and researchers need to assess UE function in patients to monitor disease progression and evaluate the potential benefit of treatments.
Despite being a commonly used measure of MS disability, many consider the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) less than adequate in assessing a patient’s upper extremities, particularly in progressive MS.
The Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite (MSFC) was designed to address EDSS limitations by including quantitative assessments of ambulation, UE function — using the Nine-Hole Peg Test (9HPT) — and cognition.
The 9HPT consists of a container with nine pegs, and a wood or plastic block with nine empty holes. A seated patient picks up the nine pegs and, one at a time, as quickly as possible places them in the holes. Then, again as quickly as possible, the patient removes the pegs from the holes, returning them to the container. Time needed to complete the task is recorded.
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