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More MS news articles for April 2003

General practitioners' approach to relapsing multiple sclerosis

Rev Neurol (Paris) 2003 Feb;159(2):196-8
Mackowiak A, Jamart V, Donze C, Hautecoeur P; Les membres du Groupe septentrional d'etudes et de recherche sur la sclerose en plaques (G-SEP).
Service de Neurologie.

Management of multiple sclerosis depends on close multidisciplinary collaboration but general practitioners play a particularly important role, especially in case of relapse, due to their close relationship with the patient.

The purpose of this work was to conduct a survey of general practitioners' knowledge of relapsing multiple sclerosis and ascertain their main difficulties in patient management.

One hundred seventy-seven practitioners answered a written questionnaire with two headings, diagnostic criteria for relapse and therapeutic approaches.

Analysis of the results showed that this common event is under recognized.

While 55.9 p.cent of the general practitioners stated they diagnosed relapse by themselves, only 2.8 p.cent knew its exact definition.

Differential diagnosis accounted for a large number of mistakes.

Our survey also underlined the use of certain therapeutic options (low-dose oral corticosteroid therapy) for which the effectiveness has not been demonstrated.

It would be important to propose specific education on relapsing multiple sclerosis for general practitioners and improve cooperation with specialists.

An integrated care network might be useful.