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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Study identifies characteristics that may constitute the MS prodrome

– Compared with controls, patients who developed MS were more frequently admitted to the hospital or visited a physician for problems related to the nervous system, sensory organs, musculoskeletal system, and genitourinary system in the 5 years prior to MS onset, a multicenter matched cohort study found.
“People are seeking help for different conditions that are most likely related to their MS,” one of the study authors, Elaine Kingwell, PhD, said in an interview at the meeting held by the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis. “It suggests there could be opportunity to recognize and possibly diagnose and treat MS earlier.”
Dr. Elaine Kingwell, an epidemiologist in the department of neurology at the University of British Columbia, VancouverDoug Brunk/Frontline Medical News
Dr. Elaine Kingwell
In a previously published study (Lancet Neurol. 2017;16[6]:445-51) led by Helen Tremlett, PhD, and first author Jose Wijnands, PhD, the team found increased health care utilization in people with MS across all health sectors – physician, hospital, and pharmacy (prescriptions filled).
For the current study, the team set out to identify early signs and symptoms that could define the MS prodrome. “We wanted to know why people went to the hospital, why people went to their physician, what kind of drugs they were prescribed, and what kind of specialists they saw,” explained Dr. Kingwell, an epidemiologist in the department of neurology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

The researchers used health administrative and MS-specific data from four Canadian provinces to conduct a multicenter matched cohort study. Individuals were required to be in the province from 5 years pre-index date, measured as either the first demyelinating event in health administrative data or MS onset as determined by the treating neurologist, until the MS cases’ third demyelinating claim or diagnosis date. The potential for a prodromal period was examined in the 5 years pre-index date, and outcomes of interest were number of physician and hospital encounters per ICD-10 chapter, number of physician encounters per physician specialty, and percentage of people with one or more filled prescription per drug class.

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