Early MS Treatment May Offer Long-Term Benefit

woman thinkingA study indicates that treating people who show the beginning signs of multiple sclerosis with medication used for the said disease can be associated with the lengthening of the time before the disease can be definitively diagnosed. The findings in this long-term study is published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The said study involved treating people showing first the first signs indicative of with MS such as numbness, visual and balance problems, as well as an MRI that showed possible signs of MS. The study started with 468 participants who were randomly assigned to either take early MS treatment using interferon-beta 1b or a placebo.  After the participants were diagnosed with MS or after a span of two years, those in the placebo group switched to interferon-beta 1b or another MS drug. After a period of 11 years, the researchers reevaluated the remaining 278 people in the study, which were composed of 167 participants from the early treatment group and 111 from the delayed group.

The study findings indicated that participants who received the early treatment were 33 percent less likely to be diagnosed with MS compared to those who received the delayed treatment. The early group participants also experienced a longer time period of 1,888 average days before their first MS relapse as compared to 931 days in the delayed group. The early treatment group also showed a lower annual relapse rate of 0.21 compared to 0.26 for those on the delayed group.

The study indicates that there is a distinct benefit for early treatment of symptoms that are associated with MS. While it may have extended the time before a definitive MS diagnosis was made, researchers note that there was no substantial difference in measurements of overall disability in both the early treatment and the delayed treatment groups, especially when MS has already been diagnosed. Both groups also exhibited the same amount of damage as seen from MRI scans at the onset of the said disease.

Source: American Academy of Neurology (AAN). (2016, August 10). Treating at the earliest sign of MS may offer long-term benefit. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160810174409.htm

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