Spasticity Among Top Most Challenging Symptoms in Multiple Sclerosis With Spasticity

Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis
Researchers sought to understand the most challenging symptoms experienced by patients with multiple sclerosis and the importance of symptom management in this population group.

Spasticity, fatigue, and difficulty walking are the top 3 most challenging symptoms patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and spasticity reported, according to study results presented at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) held October 25-28, 2021 in Orlando, Florida.

Patients with MS and spasticity tend to experience concurrent symptoms that affect daily functioning and quality of life. Yet, the substantial burden of symptoms for this population group and day-to-day symptom management is not fully characterized. The objective of the current study was to describe the most challenging symptoms patients with MS and spasticity experience and the priorities to manage them.

Researchers partnered with 3 US-based multiple sclerosis advocacy organizations to develop the Symptoms and Emotions Exploration Needed in Multiple Sclerosis Spasticity (SEEN-MSS) online survey and recruit the cohort, which comprised of 961 individuals (78% women mean age 56.6±10.5 years). The individuals participated from February to April 2021.

Patients were a mean of 16.3±9.7 years from diagnosis and had experienced spasticity symptoms for 11.1±9.6 years. They reported 17 co-occurring symptoms and a range of 1 (mild disability) to 7 (wheelchair/scooter) Patient-Determined Disease Steps. The majority (more than 60%) of individuals reported at least 8 co-occurring symptoms. Seventeen percent of individuals reported that spasticity was the most challenging symptom. It was among the top 5 most challenging for 72% of the individuals. The other top 5 symptoms that were reported as most challenging were fatigue (59%), difficulty walking (45%), and pain (40%).

Managing symptoms (46%) was reported as being nearly as important as slowing disease progression (54%) for day-to-day treatment goals, the researchers found. Slowing disease progression was the primary treatment goal for 68% of patients. Managing symptoms was the foremost goal for 32% of individuals.

“This survey highlights the substantial burden of symptoms for pwMSS [people with MS and spasticity], including spasticity, and the importance of symptom management on a day-to-day basis,” the researchers said. “These results emphasize the importance of proactive communication regarding the constellation of symptoms associated with spasticity and addressing the individual needs and treatment goals of pwMSS.”

Disclosure: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures. 


Newsome SD, Thrower B, Hendin B, et al. Symptom burden and treatment goals of people with multiple sclerosis spasticity: results from SEEN-MSS, a large-scale, self-reported survey. Presented at: CMSC 2021 Annual Meeting; October 25-28, 2021; Orlando, Florida. Abstract SXM10.