The short answer is yes, if we can identify patients at high risk early in their course. A new study provides more evidence that early and effective treatment of MS matters and helps with this decision. This was a 2-year study of over 1700 patients with relapsing-remitting MS from 163 neurology practices in Germany. About 400 of the 1700 patients had at least 1 relapse in the first year, and they were considered to be the active group. The others were considered to be inactive. Within 2 years, the active group continued to have more relapses and had worsening of disability compared to the inactive group. They also had reduced work productivity, more absence from work, were likely to stop working, and had lower quality of life. Even those who continued to work reported their productivity was less.

Thus, patients who show “activity” on their current treatment should be changed to a different medication.

This study, by Stefan Vormfelde, MD, PhD, was presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. It is titled the PEARL study.

Jack Florin, MD

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