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Treatment of progressive multiple sclerosis: what works, what does not, and what is needed

Prof Anthony Feinstein, MD, Jenny Freeman, PhD, Albert C Lo, MD

The Lancet Neurology, Volume 14, Issue 2, February 2015, Pages 194–207

Summary
Disease-modifying drugs have mostly failed as treatments for progressive multiple sclerosis. Management of the disease therefore solely aims to minimise symptoms and, if possible, improve function. The degree to which this approach is based on empirical data derived from studies of progressive disease or whether treatment decisions are based on what is known about relapsing-remitting disease remains unclear. Symptoms rated as important by patients with multiple sclerosis include balance and mobility impairments, weakness, reduced cardiovascular fitness, ataxia, fatigue, bladder dysfunction, spasticity, pain, cognitive deficits, depression, and pseudobulbar affect; a comprehensive literature search shows a notable paucity of studies devoted solely to these symptoms in progressive multiple sclerosis, which translates to few proven therapeutic options in the clinic. A new strategy that can be used in future rehabilitation trials is therefore needed, with the adoption of approaches that look beyond single interventions to concurrent, potentially synergistic, treatments that maximise what remains of neural plasticity in patients with progressive multiple sclerosis.

This is the second in a Series of three papers about progressive multiple sclerosis

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About the Editors

  • Prof Timothy Vartanian

    Timothy Vartanian, Professor at the Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Department of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell...
  • Dr Claire S. Riley

    Claire S. Riley, MD is an assistant attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology in the Neurological Institute, Columbia University,...
  • Dr Rebecca Farber

    Rebecca Farber, MD is an attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology at the Neurological Institute, Columbia University, in New...

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Journal Editor's choice

Recommended by Prof. Brenda Banwell

Causes of death among persons with multiple sclerosis

Gary R. Cutter, Jeffrey Zimmerman, Amber R. Salter, et al.

Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, September 2015, Vol 4 Issue 5