Research Article| Volume 306, ISSUE 1-2, P192-197, July 15, 2011

Decisions on multiple sclerosis immunotherapy: New treatment complexities urge patient engagement

Published:October 04, 2010DOI:


      For patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) involvement in treatment decisions becomes ever more imperative. Recently new therapeutic options have become available for the treatment of MS and more will be licensed in the near future. Although more efficacious and easier to administer, the new drugs pose increased risks of severe side effects. Also, new diagnostic criteria lead to more and earlier MS diagnoses. Facing increasingly complex decisions, patients need up-to-date evidence-based information and decision support systems in order to make informed decision together with physicians based on their autonomy preferences. This article summarizes recently terminated and ongoing trials on MS patient education and decision aids conducted by the authors' study groups. Programs on relapse management, immunotherapy, and for patients with suspected and early MS have been developed and evaluated in randomized controlled clinical trials. It could be shown that the programs successfully increase knowledge and allow patients to make informed decisions based on their preferences. For the near future, we aim to develop a modular program for all relevant decisions in MS to increase patients' self-management and empower patients to develop their individual approach with the disease. Faced by a disease with many uncertainties, this should enhance patients' sense of control. Still, it remains a challenge to adequately assess decision quality. Therefore, a study in six European and one Australian centers will start soon aiming to establish adequate tools to assess decision-making quality.


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