Impact of delayed diagnosis and treatment in clinically isolated syndrome and multiple sclerosis.
ABSTRACT Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive inflammatory disease with several possible clinical courses; before the development of definite MS, some patients may have clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), which is a single attack of neurological symptoms caused by inflammation or demyelination. Disease-modifying treatments (DMTs) have been extensively used for the management of MS, resulting in improvements in the clinical presentation and decreases in MS-associated neurological damage. Earlier initiation of DMT in the course of MS is associated with better outcomes. For patients with CIS, initiation of interferon-beta or glatiramer acetate treatment after an initial clinical event indicative of MS has been associated with delays in the progression to clinically definite MS as well as improvements in measures of neurological damage via magnetic resonance imaging. The initiation of treatment for patients with CIS should be considered, and nurses play a vital role in educating patients about the risks of conversion to MS and the benefits of early DMT.