The following article is part of conference coverage from the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers , in Seattle, Washington. 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 CMSC 2019.

SEATTLE — Interactive discussions with healthcare practitioners (HCPs) and patient education regarding multiple sclerosis (MS) relapse increases the likelihood of patients reporting relapses and achieving more proactive disease management, according to research presented at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers, held May 28 through June 1, in Seattle, Washington.

For this study, 2017 MS in America – who previously surveyed individuals using intravenous corticosteroids or repository corticotropin injection for MS relapse – conducted a follow up online survey in which participants were asked about their decision-making processes during relapse episodes. Individuals extremely likely to contact their HCP during MS relapse (n=58) were compared against individuals not extremely likely to make contact (n=68).

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Survey respondents who were likely to contact their HCP during a MS relapse were more likely to strongly agree that the provider had discussed the importance of early communication of relapse symptoms (56.9% vs 16.2%), all treatment options (46.6% vs 27.9%), and how to proactively manage a relapse (51.7% vs 16.2%). In seeking input or treatment during relapse, such HCP interactions had greater significance than current disease level, overall relationship with the HCP, or other demographic variables. Survey findings also revealed individuals’ characterization of relapse severity, including the differences in the most prevalent symptoms associated with severe, moderate, or mild relapses.

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The investigators concluded that individuals are more likely to report relapses to HCPs when practitioners educate patients on early signs of relapse and have an interactive discussion on a plan of action. Further, a personalized differentiation of severity for each patient can aid in discussions and improve their understanding of when to seek evaluation or treatment. The authors believe “[u]nder-reporting of relapse experiences may, over time, erode the patient-HCP relationship, culminating in decreased patient satisfaction and poorer health outcomes.”

Study investigators report connections to Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.

Visit Neurology Advisor‘s conference section for continuous coverage from CMSC 2019.


Waltrip II RW, Mahler N, Ahsan A, Herbert LB. Focused health care practitioner discussion and proactive education on relapse identification and management improves patient reporting and timely treatment of multiple sclerosis relapse. Presented at: The 33rd Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers; May 28-June 1, 2019; Seattle, WA. Abstract RTH01.