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Mult Scler. 2013 Oct;19(11):1526-32. doi: 10.1177/1352458513477924. Epub 2013 Feb 25.

Fatigue heralding multiple sclerosis.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, KY, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Fatigue is a common symptom in multiple sclerosis (MS) and is an important determinant of overall well-being and disability.

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the frequency with which fatigue precedes the diagnosis of MS using a retrospective database analysis.

METHODS:

Between January 1, 2003 and September 30, 2008, patients diagnosed with fatigue with and without fatigue-related medications within a 3-year period prior to newly diagnosed MS were identified from the MarketScan Databases. All statistical analysis was performed using SAS.

RESULTS:

Of the 16,976 patients with MS in the overall population, 5305 (31.3%) were newly diagnosed with MS and had three years of continuous healthcare coverage prior to MS diagnosis. Of these patients, 1534 (28.9%) were labeled with chronic fatigue syndrome (ICD9-780.71) or malaise or fatigue (ICD9-780.79) prior to the diagnosis of MS. One-third of these patients were labeled with fatigue one to two years before the diagnosis; 30.8% were diagnosed only with fatigue and had no other MS symptoms prior to their MS diagnosis. Among the patients diagnosed with fatigue, 10.4% were also prescribed medication for fatigue.

CONCLUSION:

This study demonstrates that fatigue may herald MS, often by years. A careful history for transient neurological symptoms and a physical examination is warranted in any patient presenting with fatigue.

KEYWORDS:

chronic; epidemiology; fatigue; fatigue syndrome; malaise; multiple sclerosis; quality of life

PMID:
23439577
DOI:
10.1177/1352458513477924
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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