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Neurol Sci. 2013 Feb;34(2):197-203. doi: 10.1007/s10072-012-0981-5. Epub 2012 Mar 11.

A cross-sectional, multicentre study of the therapeutic management of multiple sclerosis relapses in Italy.

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  • 1S. Antonio Abate Hospital, Gallarate, Italy.


Despite the existence of therapeutic guidelines, management of multiple sclerosis relapse remains heterogeneous. Optimisation of relapse outcome demands an improved understanding of the neurologist's therapeutic attitude towards relapse management, which is the aim of this study. Neurologists from 13 multiple sclerosis centres completed a questionnaire every time they assessed multiple sclerosis relapses. The questionnaire requested a guided description of the relapse's clinical characteristics and an indication of the prescribed therapy, supported with up to 3 out of 20 suggested reasons. Over 3 months, 368 questionnaires were collected. Median percentage (%) of 21 relapses resulting in a prescription was 88.9%. Corticosteroids represented the most frequent prescription. A short-course of high-dose intravenous methylprednisolone was the most used corticosteroid (73.7%). Treatment was administrated mainly in day case unit (80.0%) and at home (13.6%). A tapered therapy was prescribed to 28.8% of patients. Neurologists' therapeutic decisions were driven mainly by relapse severity (45.3%) and symptom evolution (24.2%). Our study confirms the therapeutic attitude of multiple sclerosis specialists in treating relapses with high-dose intravenous corticosteroids in a day hospital setting, with a tapering in a proportion of cases. The main reasons for prescription are relapse severity and symptom evolution.

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