Cigarette Smoking Increases MS Severity Despite Smoke Load, Smoking Cessation

Cigarette smoking is associated with more severe multiple sclerosis disease course with lower lifetime cigarette smoking load and smoking cessation having no significant effect on disease severity.

The following article is part of conference coverage from the 2019 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting (AAN 2019) in Philadelphia, PA. Neurology Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from AAN 2019.

PHILADELPHIA — Cigarette smoking increased disease severity in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) with severity scores remaining unchanged when considering smoking load and smoking cessation, according to research presented at the 2019 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, held May 4-10, 2019, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In this cross-sectional study, investigators sought to evaluate the impact of cigarette smoking and smoking cessation on disease severity in individuals with MS. Patients with MS completed a lifestyle questionnaire from which their lifetime cigarette smoking load was estimated. Smokers were categorized into 2 groups: low smoke load and high smoke load. Disease severity was assessed using the MS Severity Score (MSSS).

Of 351 patients included in the study, 190 were ever-smokers (92 current and 98 former) and 161 were never-smokers. Ever-smokers had a higher median MSSS than never-smokers (3.21 vs 2.33; P =.02) and were more likely to fall in the upper tertile of MSSS distribution when adjusted for age and gender.

There was no statistically significant difference in median MSSS between current and former smokers (3.14 vs 3.25) nor between ever-smokers with low smoke loads vs high smoke loads (3.44 vs 3.10; P =.98).

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The investigators concluded that these results confirm the association of cigarette smoking with greater disease severity in MS. Among ever-smokers, low smoke loads and smoking cessation were not significant factors affecting MS severity.

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Ivashynka A, D’Alfonso S, Copetti M, et al. Effects of cigarette smoking and smoking cessation on multiple sclerosis severity: a cross-sectional study. Presented at: 2019 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting; May 4-10, 2019; Philadelphia, PA. Abstract P4.6-008.