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Am J Manag Care. 2011 May;17 Suppl 5 Improving:S139-45.

Improving quality of life in multiple sclerosis: an unmet need.

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Neuroscience Consultants; Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Center in affiliation with the National Multiple Sclerosis Center, and Baptist Health Doctors Hospital Multiple Sclerosis Center, Coral Gables.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects approximately 400,000 people in the United States and 2.1 million people worldwide. It is the most common chronic, non-traumatic neurological disorder afflicting young people during their peak productive ages. MS can diminish quality of life (QOL) by interfering with the ability to work, pursue leisure activities, and carry on usual life roles. Symptoms that affect QOL may include impaired mobility, fatigue, depression, pain, spasticity, cognitive impairment, sexual dysfunction, bowel and bladder dysfunction, vision and hearing problems, seizures, and sDwallowing and breathing difficulties. Direct medical costs of MS in the United States are estimated in excess of $10 billion per year. Indirect costs of MS include costs of reduced employment or unemployment, assistive equipment, disability related home modifications, and paid and unpaid personal care. Although direct medical costs predominate in the earlier stages of MS, indirect costs of productivity loss are responsible for higher costs later. Disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) lessen symptoms, reduce relapses, and delay disability progression. Unfortunately, many DMTs might produce only modest improvements in QOL. Although symptom-specific therapies do not delay disease progression, they may delay unemployment and dependency, thereby reducing indirect costs.

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