Prognosis of multiple sclerosis

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Multiple sclerosis is characterised by being a heterogeneous and unpredictable disease, as such that there are currently no precise markers available that help to predict the outcome of a particular patient.

Studies show that when a therapy was not available for the disease, at the end of 10 years, 8 out 10 patients with a primary episode or an isolated clinical syndrome developed the disease. These figures have decreased by half since treatment has become available.

Something similar occurred as regards the passing from the relapsing-remitting form to the secondary progressive form. Recent studies show that it takes longer to move on to this progressive form, and that it is less frequent.

Furthermore, there are patients that have a “benign" progression that does not involve disability after many years of onset and others with a very “aggressive” disease that leaves significant sequelae in a few years.

In general, the studies show that the progression during the first years of the disease (flare-ups, severity and sequelae) is important for the long-term prognosis. For this reason, it is essential to start therapy in the early phases of the disease, that is to say, in the most inflammatory stage.

In fact, there has been a change in life expectancy in the last few years, and the mean survival is 2.5 times higher than it was at the beginning of the 1960's.

Substantiated information by:

Ana Hernando
Albert Saiz

Published: 20 February 2018
Updated: 20 February 2018

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