MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: Economic Impact Survey, Fatigue, DMTs

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by Ed Tobias |

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National MS Society Launches Survey to Assess Economic Impact of MS

We know that managing MS is expensive. It can cost us money out of our pockets and also limit our ability to earn that money. A small survey about this was the subject of my “MS Wire” column last Friday. Coincidentally, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is conducting its own online survey about this. The results, I’m afraid, will paint a stark picture of our economic health as people with MS. Hurry if you want to participate in the survey, as the deadline is Sept. 24, only a few days from now!

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, together with the Lewin Group, has launched a survey to assess the economic impact multiple sclerosis (MS) has on patients and their families.

In the survey, which can be found here, MS patients and/or their family members are asked to answer up to 32 questions detailing their health-related expenses, including those associated with medical insurance, treatments, and doctor visits.

Click here to read the full story.


#MSVirtual2020 – Fatigue Tops Survey About Relapsing MS Symptoms

Here’s another survey, and the results should be obvious to anyone with MS. It found that fatigue affects our daily life more than any other symptom and is triggered mostly by heat, stress, and lack of sleep. Gee, ya think?

Fatigue is the most impactful symptom on daily functioning in people with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and is more severe in patients with relapse, pain, depression, and sleep disorders, according to a U.S.-based survey.

The results were based mostly on a new MS-specific tool called the Fatigue Symptoms and Impacts Questionnaire-Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (FSIQ-RMS), supporting its use to further understand and manage this debilitating symptom.

Click here to read the full story.


#MSVirtual2020 – Long DMT Exposure May Delay Disability Progression, Wheelchair Use

I’ve been treated with disease-modifying therapies (DMTs), including Avonex, Tysabri, Aubagio, and Lemtrada, since Avonex first became available in 1996. I can’t say I’d be in a wheelchair without having these treatments, but I also don’t know that I wouldn’t. This study helps to confirm my belief that DMTs were the right way to go, at least for me.

Longer exposure to disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) may delay disability progression and the time until people with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) require the aid of a wheelchair, an Italian registry-based study found.

The study also suggests that starting treatment with DMTs — medications that reduce the activity of the immune system — at a younger age, and shortly after disease onset, can improve patients’ long-term clinical outcomes.

Click here to read the full story.


#MSVirtual2020 – Early Intensive DMT Use in RRMS Appears More Effective Than Escalation

This one is similar to the previous study. It supports the belief by many neurologists that it’s best to hit MS hard and fast, once it’s diagnosed. I agree with that philosophy.

Early use of high efficacy disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) is more effective than the traditional approach — that of an escalating treatment regimen — at delaying disability progression in people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), a real-life study from Italy reports.

People later moving to more aggressive treatment also appeared to benefit less from it than those treated intensively from the start, its researchers said.

Click here to read the full story.


 Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Jane Blunt avatar

Jane Blunt

I follow with much personal interest, studies relating to DMT treatment. I am on the cusp of being diagnosed with MS. With a "likely" diagnosis from the neurologist and referral to an MS specialist. During a two month attack I spent my time researching this scary disease. Some report literally years and years to a diagnosis thus delaying treatment. I find that incomprehensible. I am a new MS victim. Hopefully my story will be different. Educating oneself is the way to go. To be able to ask the prudent questions with knowledge. My aim is to keep my mobility. Hence I am keen to understand DMT. The side effects of which seem largely neglected and unreported alongside promising studies and data? Is this a separate study? I'm confused. JB

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Jane,

MS can be a very confusing disease. It's difficult to diagnose as its symptoms are similar to a number of other illnesses. It also treats people differently. Many go for years with very few symptoms an are limited very little, some of them without being treated with a DMT. A few, on the other hand, develop serious symptoms quickly.

I've lived with MS for 40 years. There were no DMTs when I was diagnose. There are now more than 20 of them available with more in the pipeline. Each has its own level of efficacy and potential for serious side effects. It's a risk/benefits analysis that you and your neuro will need to make, taking into consideration your current level of illness, your lifestyle an your ability to afford which might be a large out-of-pocket expense, depending on the treatment you decide to use.

It sounds as if you're heading into this journey the right way. I've written a lot about DMTs, and lot of other things, in my MS Wire column. If you search this website for it I think many of your questions may be answered.

Good luck,



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