Can J Neurol Sci. 2004 May;31(2):157-68
Freedman MS, Patry DG, Grand'Maison F, Myles ML, Paty DW, Selchen DH; Canadian MS Working Group.
MS Research Clinic, University of Ottawa, Ottawa Hospital General Campus, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
The treatment of multiple sclerosis has finally become possible with the advent of the current disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) that have had a significant impact on those living with this disease.
Though demonstrating clear efficacy on a number of short-term outcome measures, unfortunately, these agents are not "cures" and many patients with multiple sclerosis continue to experience disease activity in spite of treatment.
Clinicians are becoming more comfortable initiating therapy with DMTs, but it is now important to focus attention on monitoring the results of the chosen therapy and deciding whether or not a patient is responding well to treatment.
At present, however, clinicians lack criteria for defining optimal versus suboptimal responses to DMTs as well as evidence-based guidelines on how to improve treatment outcomes.
Using a recently published model as a framework, The Canadian Multiple Sclerosis Working Group developed practical recommendations on how neurologists can assess the status of patients on DMTs and decide when it may be necessary to modify treatment in order to optimize outcomes.
The Canadian Multiple Sclerosis Working Group's recommendations are based on monitoring relapses, neurological progression and MRI activity.
Other possible causes of suboptimal treatment responses or treatment failure are also considered.