Monday, November 1, 2010

Multiple sclerosis- a few pearls

As we all know MS is an inflammatory, demyelinating disease affecting the central nervous system. MS is a dynamic disease with constant formation of new lesions and a progressive clinical course resulting in disability. 

 *For every 8-10 new lesions detected on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), only one clinical manifestation typically can be demonstrated.
*Patients with relapsing remitting MS have an average of 5-10 new lesions per year and 1 or 2 clinical exacerbations
*no etiologic agent for MS has been identified

*MRI of head and spine with and without gadolinium shows the lesions(plaques). Enhancement of a lesion on T2 weighted image is indicative of an active lesion. Lesions that dont enhance are chronic lesions. Usually its a mixture of both. One differential here in a patient with 10 or more enhancing lesion on first presentation is Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis(ADEM). A history of recent vaccination/viral illness points more towards ADEM than MS in this scenario.
*CSF oligoclonal bands (which are IgG) is elevated in nearly 85 -90% of patients and serves as a good test with high sensitivity. So if negative....the likelihood of MS is low. IgG Index, which is calculated as follows (IgGCSF/albuminCSF)/(IgGserum/albuminserum) is usually elevated. ( Normal is < 0.77)
*Management is usually a multidisciplinary approach( as it is with most of the neurological illness)

* An acute exacerbation, if it is severly disabling should be treated with 1mg/kg/day of i.v methylprednisone for 3-5 days with a taper over next 2-4 weeks. This has shown to reduce the duration of disability, but does not improve the degree of resulting disability. (Neurology 1998 )
* Options for reducing relapses are many. interferon beta-1a IM (Avonex), interferon beta-1b SC (Betaseron and Extavia), glatiramer acetate SC (Copaxone), & interferon beta-1a SC are immunomodulators used in this aspect. In general these agents reduce the relapses by one third...with efficacy being high for high dose high frequency(HDHF) interferon  Betaseron (34), Rebif (33%), Copaxone (29%). But on the whole ...studies had shown variable results. for eg. INCOMIN study in 2002 showed benefit with HDHF interferon compared to low dose....which was later disproved by Danish MS study in 2006.
* The latest drug approved by FDA is Fingolimod...based on the recent TRANSFORMS study in NEJM 2010 which showed fewer relapses compared to interferon 1a over 1 year period. One advantage of fingolimod id that it is a oral opposed to all other meds(either im or sc).
*Modafanil or amantadine can be used effectively for symptoms of fatigue pts with MS.

Its not much to choose in between the terms of efficacy. So therapy can be guided by patient profile and side effect profile of the drug.


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  2. maggie.danhakl@healthline.comApril 25, 2014 at 6:55 PM


    Healthline just launched a video campaign for MS called "You've Got This" where individuals living with MS can record a short video to give hope and inspiration those recently diagnosed with MS.

    You can visit the homepage and check out videos from the campaign here:

    We will be donating $10 for every submitted campaign to the National MS Society, so the more exposure the campaign gets the more the videos we'll receive and the more Healthline can donate to MS research, support groups, treatment programs, and more.

    We would appreciate if you could help spread the word about this by sharing the You've Got This with friends and followers or include the campaign as a resource on your page:

    Please let me know if this is possible and if you have any questions. And, if you know anyone that would be interested in submitting a video, please encourage them to do so.

    Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager
    p: 415-281-3124 f: 415-281-3199

    Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
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