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Guidelines Released by AAN to Help Inform Treatment Choices for Multiple Sclerosis

April 23, 2018

  • The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has released a Practice Guideline to help healthcare professionals and people with MS choose among available disease-modifying therapies.
  • The guideline summarizes different types of therapies and published evidence about their effectiveness in reducing relapses and slowing progression, potential risks and side effects, and when to consider switching from one therapy to another.
  • As a companion to the guideline for professionals, the Academy also created patient-friendly summaries, offering insights to help make decisions about starting, switching and stopping therapy.
  • The guideline was developed by a panel of experts, including people living with MS, and a summary was published in the journal Neurology on April 23, 2018 and posted to the AAN's Website.
“Having a much-needed roadmap like this guideline that will help inform decisions about starting and switching therapies is so important for people living with MS and their healthcare providers,” said Kathleen Costello, MS, ANP-BC, an MS nurse practitioner and the National MS Society’s Associate Vice President of Healthcare Access. “Another benefit is that clinical practice guidelines are often used by health insurers to help inform medical coverage decisions and policies.”
 
DETAILS
Background: Many disease-modifying MS therapies have been found through clinical trials to reduce the number of relapses, delay progression of disability, and limit new disease activity (as seen on MRI). The number of therapies available especially for relapsing MS, and the diverse ways the clinical trials were conducted make it difficult to weigh the benefits and risks of these therapies to help healthcare providers make treatment recommendations for the people they treat. There are also complexities to be weighed in terms of lifestyle, reproductive health and ongoing monitoring. There has been a long-standing need for simplifying treatment information so that more informed choices can be made.
 
Practice Guideline Released: The American Academy of Neurology has released a Practice Guideline to help healthcare professionals and people with MS choose among available disease-modifying therapies. “Disease-Modifying Therapies for Adults with Multiple Sclerosis” summarizes different types of therapies and published evidence about their effectiveness in reducing relapses and slowing progression, potential risks and side effects, and when to consider switching from one therapy to another.
 
The guideline also makes recommendations in terms of monitoring while a person is on specific treatments, and for future research. The guideline was developed by a team of experts including people living with multiple sclerosis, and was reviewed and endorsed by several health advocacy organizations including the National MS Society.
 
As a companion to the guideline for professionals, the Academy also created patient-friendly summaries, offering insights to help make decisions about starting, switching and stopping therapy.
 
The summary of the guideline was published in the journal Neurology on April 23, 2018 and on the AAN's Website. Links to summary and full guideline are below.
 
Read More
Practice Guideline and support documents for healthcare professionals
Patient-friendly summaries of AAN Guideline: Learn more about treating MS and managing MS symptoms

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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