Australasian neurologists review the ‘new era’ of MS treatment

04 August, 2015

A recent collaboration between MS neurologists has brought together the latest information on treatments and best practice for MS care.

The collaboration was led by Professor Simon Broadley from Griffith University in Queensland, who is Chairman of the Australian New Zealand Association of Neurologists MS Neurology Sub-Committee and MS Research Australia’s Research Management Council. The paper was co-authored by 24 top MS neurologists from Australia and New Zealand and highlights the range of treatments available today, including eleven treatment options available with government subsidies for people with relapsing-remitting MS.

This paper aims to help inform General Practitioners and other clinicians, who need to be up-to-date about the current standards of best practice for treating MS. It is important physicians are aware of both the benefits and the potential complications associated with MS therapies, in order to enable effective long-term integrated care for people with MS. This will encourage multi-disciplinary interaction to support neurologists in providing the highest quality of care for people with MS. Published in the Medical Journal of Australia, this paper showcases the excellent progress made in the past two decades in treatments for MS. For many people, a diagnosis of MS can now be well managed and relapses effectively controlled. There is a range of good quality evidence for many therapies providing successful disease management, including reduction of inflammatory disease activity and, in some cases, prevention of further disease progression. There are also a number of new therapies currently being assessed in clinical trials with promising results.

The authors note that continued diligence is required to monitor for potential adverse events resulting from the currently available therapies. They also reiterate the current recommendations that all MS therapies be withdrawn during pregnancy. This is in line with existing data and MS Research Australia will publish an article later this week summarising recent research in this area.

Advances in MS therapies over the past twenty years have dramatically changed the outlook and prognosis for people living with MS around the world. Although there is still much work to be done, particularly for those diagnosed with progressive forms of MS, this paper is a promising reflection on how far we have come. Our collective priorities moving forward are to develop effective treatments for progressive MS, and to find a cure for every type of MS through the repair or regeneration of damaged myelin.

Consult with a neurologist for individually tailored information and advice on currently available MS therapies and for advice on the most appropriate treatment plan. General information on available MS therapies can also be found through MS Australia.

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