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Eur Neurol. 2014;72(3-4):132-41. doi: 10.1159/000360528. Epub 2014 Jul 30.

Multiple sclerosis: current knowledge and future outlook.

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Department of Neurology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system characterized by demyelination and axonal loss. The etiology of MS is unknown; however, environmental and genetic factors play a key role in the development of MS. Diagnostic criteria have been adapted to facilitate earlier diagnosis with increased sensitivity and specificity. Our understanding of the pathophysiology of MS has deepened considerably in recent years, resulting in different therapies to modify the disease course. Furthermore, several drugs have lately shown efficacy in phase III studies and their approval is expected in the near future. As treatment options expand, a future challenge will be to find the optimal treatment for the individual patient.


This mini-review gives an overview of the current knowledge of MS with emphasis on the latest diagnostic criteria and both current and upcoming treatment options. Key Messages: Treatment of MS changes rapidly as the knowledge and therapeutic options in MS expand. Clinical Impact: Diagnosis of MS is based on McDonald criteria. MS therapy can be divided into relapse, disease-modifying and symptomatic treatment. Relapses are commonly treated with intravenous methylprednisolone. First-line therapy consists of either interferon-β, glatiramer acetate or teriflunomide. In general, agents used as escalation therapies (natalizumab, fingolimod and mitoxantrone) are more potent than the agents used for first-line therapy; however, these have potentially serious side effects and should be used with care.

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