Patient education program to enhance decision autonomy in multiple sclerosis relapse management: A randomized-controlled trial

Unit of Health Sciences and Education, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.
Multiple Sclerosis (Impact Factor: 4.82). 10/2008; 15(1):96-104. DOI: 10.1177/1352458508095921
Source: PubMed


Contrary to strong recommendations for high-dose intravenous corticosteroid treatment for relapses in multiple sclerosis (MS), uncertainty remains about most aspects of relapse management. Oral corticosteroids administered by physicians or patients themselves or no corticosteroids also appear justifiable.
To evaluate an education program that aims to involve patients with MS in decisions on relapse management.
In three German MS centers, 150 patients with relapsing MS were randomly assigned to a single, 4-h group session or a standard information leaflet. The primary outcome measure was the proportion of relapses with oral or no corticosteroid therapy as an indicator of patient autonomy in treatment decision making. Other outcomes included perceived decision autonomy, quality of life, and disability status.
In the intervention group (IG), 108/139 (78%) relapses were treated with oral or no corticosteroids compared with 101/179 (56%) in the control group; P < 0.0001. Patients' perceived autonomy of treatment decision making was significantly higher in the IG; P < 0.0001. Quality of life, disability status, and adverse events of corticosteroid therapies were comparable.
The patient education program led to more autonomous decision making in patients with relapsing MS. Relevant changes in relapse management were observed.

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    • "The program was compared to a two-page standard information leaflet. Participants were 150 relapsing MS patients with high disease activity from three German centers [17]. Based on existing guidelines recommending i.v. "
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    • "ity [ Sijens et al . 2008 ] . Since behavioral and pharmacological therapies are comparably effective in MS depres - sion , the effect of psychotherapy on lesion load and atrophy should be explored in future studies . A randomized controlled trial with 150 patients using patient education showed a decreased relapse rate in the intervention group [ Kopke et al . 2009 ] . However , no biological or paraclini - cal markers of disease activity were obtained , so this should be interpreted with caution ."
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    • "The program consists of a single, 4-h group session and a comprehensive patient information brochure targeting MS relapse management . In a recently published randomized-controlled trial (EBSIMS, Evidence-Based Self-Management in MS relapses), performed between 2003 and 2006, we found considerable effects of the EBSIMS-program on relapse management [18]. In this trial with 150 persons with relapsing MS, we found that the program led to altered relapse management as in the intervention group significantly more relapses were treated with oral or no corticosteroids. "
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