Article

Change in multiple sclerosis prevalence over time in Australia 2010–2017 utilising disease-modifying therapy prescription data

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Abstract

Objective Determine the prevalence of multiple sclerosis (MS) in Australia in 2017 using MS-specific disease-modifying therapy (DMT) prescription data and estimate the change in prevalence from 2010. Methods DMT prescriptions were extracted from Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) data for January–December 2017. Percentages of people with MS using DMTs (DMT penetrance) were calculated using data from the Australian MS Longitudinal Study. Prevalence was estimated by dividing the total number of monthly prescriptions by 12 (except alemtuzumab), adjusted for DMT penetrance and Australian population estimates. Prevalences in Australian states/territories were age-standardised to the Australian population. Comparisons with 2010 prevalence data were performed using Poisson regression. Results Overall DMT penetrance was 64%, and the number of people with MS in Australia in 2017 was 25,607 (95% confidence interval (CI): 24,874–26,478), a significant increase of 4324 people since 2010 ( p < 0.001). The prevalence increased significantly from 95.6/100,000 (2010) to 103.7/100,000 (2017), with estimates highest in Tasmania in 2017 (138.7/100,000; 95% CI: 137.2–140.1) and lowest in Queensland (74.6/100,000; 95% CI: 73.5–75.6). From 2010 to 2017 using the median latitudes for each state/territory, the overall latitudinal variation in MS prevalence was an increase of 3.0% per degree-latitude. Conclusion Consistent with global trends, Australia’s MS prevalence has increased; this probably reflecting decreased mortality, increased longevity and increased incidence.

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... The prevalence of MS is increasing: the Atlas of MS estimate for global MS prevalence increased by 200,000 people to 2.3 million people over 2008-2013 [8]. Likewise, MS prevalence in Australia increased by 20% over 2010-2017 to 25,607 people in 2017 [9]. Moreover, the age structure of people with MS in Australia has also shifted to increased prevalence in older age groups, reflecting case longevity [9]. ...
... Likewise, MS prevalence in Australia increased by 20% over 2010-2017 to 25,607 people in 2017 [9]. Moreover, the age structure of people with MS in Australia has also shifted to increased prevalence in older age groups, reflecting case longevity [9]. ...
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Background While many studies have examined the impacts of multiple sclerosis (MS) on health-related quality of life (HRQoL), none have used the SF-6D multi-attribute utility instrument in a large international cohort (> 2000 subjects) of people with MS.Objectives To derive SF-6D health state utilities (HSUs) for participants of the HOLISM (Health Outcomes and Lifestyle In a Sample of people with Multiple Sclerosis) international cohort and to describe the distribution and determinants thereof.MethodsHSUs were generated using the SF-6D for participants with sufficient SF-36 data [n = 2185/2466 (88.6%)]. Mean HSUs for sociodemographic, clinical and modifiable lifestyle factors (including diet, physical activity, supplement use) were evaluated. Determinants of HSU were then evaluated by linear regression, adjusted for age, sex, MS type, disability, fatigue, and prescription antidepressant use.ResultsMean HSU for the sample was 0.67 (SD = 0.13) and diminished with increasing MS-related disability, robust to adjustment, supporting the SF-6D’s discriminatory power in people with MS. Severe disability and clinically significant fatigue were each associated with 11% lower HSU (95% CI = − 0.13, − 0.10 and − 0.12, − 0.10), and depression risk with 10%-lower HSU (95% CI = − 0.11, − 0.08). Employment, higher socioeconomic and married/partnered statuses, larger social-network size, greater physical activity, and vitamin D and omega-3 supplement use were associated with significantly higher HSU, and overweight/obese BMI and tobacco smoking with lower HSU. Age, sex, and education were not associated.Conclusion Modifiable lifestyle factors including healthy diet, increased physical activity and supplement use were associated with higher HRQOL among people with MS. The SF-6D instrument revealed significant discriminatory power in this international cohort of people with MS.
... The total population estimate was obtained by multiplying the costs per person by the 2017 estimate of the number of people with MS in Australia (n = 25,607). (Campbell et al., 2019) Prescription medication costs were calculated using the Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS) cost schedule (1 June 2017) (Australian Government June, 2017). As we did not know the co-payment types (general vs concessional) of our sample for MS-specific prescription medications, the average co-payment amount of $8.90 was applied (Supplement 4). ...
... A possible limitation is that our analysis did not include intangible costs (such as the costs of pain, grief and suffering) associated with MS, however these are captured elsewhere by measuring their impact on quality of life/health state utility values. (Campbell et al., 2019) In addition, our estimates of nursing home costs can be relatively uncertain as they are based on 'top-down' costing approach. Finally, no direct clinical measures of disability levels were included in the survey, ⁎ Exponentiated coefficients represent a ratio of mean costs, which is the fold-increase in mean costs per unit increase in the covariate. ...
Article
Background Economic costs of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in Australia were last estimated in 2010 and are likely to have changed over time, especially given this new era of increased access to higher efficacy disease modifying therapies (DMTs) with a strong focus on earlier MS diagnosis and treatment. Objectives To provide a comprehensive contemporary analysis of the updated direct and indirect costs of MS in Australia from a societal perspective and to examine how the cost landscape has changed overtime. Methods Costs were estimated from the 2016 Economic Impact Survey (EIS) of the Australian MS longitudinal Study (AMSLS) and were stratified by various (indirect and direct) cost categories/sub-categories and disability severity. Disability was assessed with the patient determined disease steps (PDDS) and mapped against the gold-standard Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), and classified as no disability (EDSS level: 0), mild (EDSS 1-3.5), moderate (EDSS 4-6) and severe (EDSS 6.5-9.5). A generalized linear model (GLM) predicted covariate adjusted costs for each disability severity. All costs are presented in 2017 Australian dollars. Results 488 (15.5% of the 3,163) AMSLS participants completed the survey. Annual costs per person with MS increased 17% from 2010 to $68,382 in 2017, driven largely by increased direct costs (from $16,306 in 2010 to $30,346 in 2017) (particularly those related to DMTs, hospitalizations, consultations, and medical tests), but offset by decreased costs of lost wages (from $29,030 in 2010 to $21,858 in 2017) as a result of recent positive shifts in the employment landscape for Australians with MS. Costs increased with increasing disability severity: $30,561 (95% confidence intervals [CI]: $25,672-$35,451), $55,815 (95%CI: $47,503$64,126), $76,915 (95%CI: $68,866-$84,964), and $114,813 (95%CI: $102,252-$127,374) for no, mild, moderate and severe disability, respectively. The differences in costs between the four disability groups remained statistically significant even after adjustment for age, sex, DMT usage status, disease course and areas of remoteness. Conclusions MS has an increasing economic burden in Australia. The study provides current economic data on MS in Australia that are important for policy development, priority setting and management of public health.
... inhabitants. 7 In the Italian city of Catania (latitude of 37.49 N), from which a great share of Santa Maria's population originates, 6 the prevalence of MS is 127.1 per 100,000 inhabitants. 8 The distinct prevalence but similar genetic traits between the populations of Santa Maria and Catania clearly indicates that other factors play a key role in MS development. ...
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The pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 has made new treatments a goal for the scientific community. One of these treatments is Ivermectin. Here we discuss the hypothesis of dysbiosis caused by the use of Ivermectin and the possible impacts on neuroinflammatory diseases after the end of the pandemic.
... MS is a chronic inflammatory and neurodegenerative disease resulting in demyelination of neuron fibers, inefficient signal transmission and reduced muscular mobility. MS affects approximately 30 in 100,000 globally (4) and ∼100 in 100,000 individuals in Australia (5). Prevalence of MS has increased over the last decades, particularly in females (6) who are now 2-3 times more likely to develop MS than males (6,7). ...
Article
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The immunological mechanisms that contribute to multiple sclerosis (MS) differ between males and females. Females are 2-3 times more likely to develop MS compared to males, however the reason for this discrepancy is unknown. Once MS is established, there is a more inflammatory yet milder form of disease in females whereas males generally suffer from more severe disease and faster progression, neural degradation, and disability. Some of these differences relate to genetics, including genetic control of immune regulatory genes on the X-chromosome, as well as immune modulatory properties of sex hormones. Differences in MS development may also relate to how sex interacts with environmental risk factors. There are several environmental risk factors for MS including late-onset Epstein Barr virus infection, low serum vitamin D levels, low UV radiation exposure, smoking, obesity, and lack of physical activity. Most of these risk factors impact males and females differently, either due to biological or immunological processes or through behavioral differences. In this review, we explore these differences further and focus on how the interaction of environmental risk factors with sex hormones may contribute to significantly different prevalence and pathology of MS in males and females.
... Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease that causes the immune system to attack and gradually impair the function of the central nervous system. 1 Globally, the prevalence of MS is increasing. 2 In Australia, the number of people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) has increased from 21,283 in 2010 to 25,607 in 2017 3 and MS creates a significant burden for individuals, families and society. 2 A recent health economic impact analysis indicated that the cost of MS has increased by 41% over a 7-year period, rising from AU$ 1.24 billion in 2010 to US$1.75 billion in 2017. 4 Reducing this burden requires a multifactorial approach, including the provision of accurate and reliable information about MS to PwMS and health care providers to improve knowledge and health outcomes. ...
Article
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Background Multiple sclerosis (MS)-related knowledge is an important evaluation metric for health education interventions. However, few MS knowledge assessment tools are currently available for use. Objectives This study aims to develop a reliable and valid Multiple Sclerosis Knowledge Assessment Scale (MSKAS) for use in the MS community and the general public. Methods The MSKAS was developed using a Delphi study methodology and was administered to participants in the first open enrolment of the Understanding Multiple Sclerosis (UMS) online course. Rasch analysis was used to examine its psychometric properties and develop the final scale. Results Experts from across the MS community participated in the development of the MSKAS, resulting in an initial scale of 42 items. Five hundred and forty-three UMS participants completed the MSKAS; 89% were female and 30% were people with MS. The final unidimensional 22-item scale has a person separation index of 2.16, a person reliability index of 0.82, an item separation index of 11.19, and a Cronbach’s alpha (kr-20) test reliability of 0.87. Conclusion The MSKAS is a unidimensional scale with good construct validity and internal consistency. The MSKAS has the potential to be useful for the assessment of MS knowledge in research and clinical practice.
... and the lowest was in Queensland, at 74.6 (95% CI: 73.5-75.6). The MS prevalence also increased by an average of 3% per latitude degree in Australia (Campbell et al., 2020). ...
Article
Background Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating CNS disease and the most common neurological immune-mediated disorder. Due to its progressive format, it affects patients' quality of life (QoL) significantly. This study aimed to evaluate epidemiologic parameters of MS in the Asia and Oceania continents. Methods A comprehensive literature search on October 1st, 2020, was performed in PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science to retrieve original population-based studies on MS epidemiology in the Asian and Oceanian countries, published between January 1st, 1985 and October 1st, 2020. The designed search strategy was repeated for each country, and the relevant referenced articles were added to our database. A random-effect model was used to combine the epidemiological estimates, and subgroup analysis was also performed by continent, region, and country, when possible. Meta-regression analysis was done to evaluate the effects of Human Developmental Index (HDI), latitude, and study period on the epidemiologic parameters. Results A total of 3,109 publications were found, of which 89 articles met the eligibility criteria and were included for data extraction. These articles provided data on prevalence, incidence, and mean age at disease onset in 18 countries in Asia and Oceania, including Iran, Turkey, Cyprus, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Jordan, Israel, India, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Republic of Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. The pooled total prevalence, incidence, and mean age of onset in Asia and Oceania were 37.89/100000 (95% CI: 35.65 - 40.142), 2.40/100000 (95% CI: 2.22 – 2.58), and 28.21 (95% CI: 27.55 – 28.88), respectively. MS prevalence and incidence in the female gender (68.7/100000 and 4.42/100000, respectively) were infinitely higher than in the male gender (24.52/100000 and 2.06/100000, respectively). Our subgroup analysis showed that MS was much more prevalent in Australia and West Asia among the studied area. The meta-regression showed that the total incidence decreased with an increase in the HDI, and the total prevalence in Asia increased with increasing latitude gradients. Also, the study period had a positive effect on the total prevalence and incidence in Asia and Oceania. Conclusion MS prevalence and incidence have increased in recent decades. This study highlights the need for further studies to elucidate MS's geographical and temporal variations' exact etiologies.
... Lastly, given we did not have individual level data of the 2014-15 NHS, we were not able to exclude PwMS in the 2014-2015 NHS. However, it would have only included approximately 20 people with MS out of the 19,259 NHS participants, based on 2017 MS prevalence estimates [50]. ...
Article
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Background Little is known about the change in prevalence of comorbidities during the disease course of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and whether the prevalences vary by MS onset type. Objective To calculate the change in prevalence of comorbidities between symptom onset and the time of study, to compare the prevalences of comorbidities with those in the Australian population at the time of study and to examine onset-type differences. Methods Comorbidity data from 1518 participants of the Australian MS Longitudinal Study and Australian population comparator data (2014–2015 National Health Survey) were used. The change in prevalence between time points and prevalence ratios (PR) at the time of study (crude, age and sex adjusted, and stratified by onset type) was calculated. Results Comorbidities were common, and those with the largest increases in prevalence between MS symptom onset and the time of study were depression (+ 26.9%), anxiety (+ 23.1%), hypertension (+ 21.9%), elevated cholesterol (+ 16.3%), osteoarthritis (+ 17.1%), eye diseases (+ 11.6%), osteoporosis (+ 10.9%) and cancer (+ 10.3%). Compared to the general population and after age and sex adjustment, participants had a significantly higher prevalence for 14/19 comorbidities at the time of study. The associations were strongest for anaemia, cancer (both PR > 4.00), anxiety, depression, migraine (all PR > 3.00), psoriasis and epilepsy (both PR > 2.00). No significant differences were seen by onset type. Conclusion Comorbidities are common at MS symptom onset and increase with MS duration. Having MS may thus contribute to accrual of comorbidities. This emphasises the importance of optimal screening for and management of comorbidities in early MS and throughout the disease course.
... Finally, to provide a preliminary estimate of medication penetrance/coverage, we used pharmacoepidemiological principles [16][17][18] and compared crude prevalence estimates calculated from prescription numbers for the years 2018 and 2019 (complete years of data) with published literature estimates for the UK, 19 a population with similar characteristics as Australia. 19 We assumed that if an individual filled a prescription they were counted as a prevalent case for that year; the total annual number of prescriptions dispensed for the medications was divided by 12 to convert to monthly prescriptions, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics population denominators 14 for Australia and each jurisdiction for 2018 and 2019 were then used to calculate crude prevalence per 100 000 people aged !50 years. ...
Article
Objectives Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is one of the most common forms of interstitial lung disease presenting in people aged ≥50 years. There is currently no cure for IPF, but two medications (pirfenidone and nintedanib) have been shown to slow the functional decline of the lungs. In 2017, these two medications were listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for subsidisation in Australia. This study evaluated local trends in the use of these two medications.Methods Prescription data for this analysis were obtained from the PBS Item Reports for the period May 2017-May 2020. Population data were extracted from the Australian Bureau of Statistics data cubes. A descriptive approach was used to conduct and report the analysis to illustrate trends in the use of these two medications and associated costs.ResultsThere were 44 010 prescriptions processed for the treatment for IPF in the 3-year period. Nintedanib use was higher than pirfenidone use, accounting for 54% of prescriptions. New South Wales accounted for 35% of the total prescriptions but, when standardised against population size, the Australian Capital Territory accounted for the highest proportion of prescriptions (24%). Prescriptions for nintedanib and pirfenidone were associated with a total cost of A$131 377 951 over the period 2017-20.Conclusion This study provides initial information on prescription rates, practices and expenditure for pirfenidone and nintedanib. In addition, we provide some insight into possible pharmacological and epidemiological trends based on jurisdictional differences. Together, the results from this study provide a platform for future research given the dearth of information on IPF in Australia.What is known about the topic?Data regarding trends in the utilisation of antifibrotics for the treatment of IPF in Australia are currently limited.What does this paper add?This study demonstrated that nintedanib use was slightly higher than pirfenidone use, and that there were variations in jurisdictional prescribing practices. The highest number of prescriptions and costs were attributable to New South Wales but, when standardised against population size, the Australian Capital Territory had the highest number of prescriptions and costs.What are the implications for practitioners?This study provides some insights into the use of pirfenidone and nintedanib, as well as pharmacoepidemiological trends, in Australia, which is useful for economic evaluation and modelling future health expenditure.
... Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disorder affecting approximately 2.5 million people worldwide, and more than 25,000 people in Australia live with MS [1]. MS results in pathological changes to the central nervous system, and over time increasing damage can result in neurological disability [2] and a number of debilitating symptoms such as fatigue, pain and mobility impairment [3]. ...
Article
Purpose: Multiple sclerosis (MS) often leads to reduced physical activity and exercise participation. Sedentary behaviour is associated with poor health, whereas exercise is effective in managing MS symptoms. This study assessed physical activity, exercise and sedentary sitting time, and identified associations with symptoms. Material and methods: Participants of the Australian MS Longitudinal Study completed surveys in 2016. We measured physical activity and sitting time via the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (short-form), and assessed participation in exercise (type and duration). Multivariable regression models assessed associations between physical activity, sitting time and exercise; and demographic characteristics and MS-related symptoms. Results: Of the 1216 participants, 53.0% reported moderate-high physical activity levels (71.5% among those with no/mild disability). Median sitting time was 7 h/day. Most (78.4%) participated in aerobic exercise, while only 16.4% participated in strength training. Having a progressive MS onset, more severe symptoms (i.e., cognitive impairment, depression, fatigue, mobility impairment) and being male was indicative of lower physical activity levels and higher sitting time. Conclusions: Health promotion efforts should encourage physical activity and exercise, in particular strength training, among people with MS. People with more severe symptoms and progressive disease may require focused exercise promotion from healthcare professionals. Implications for Rehabilitation Comprehensive MS management should include strategies to increase physical activity and exercise participation, with particular focus upon people with higher MS-symptom burden (i.e., depression, fatigue and mobility and cognitive impairment), men, and those with progressive onset MS. Efforts to promote physical activity guidelines for people with MS and address barriers to physical activity must be implemented in standard MS care, with a particular focus on adhering to strength training guidelines. Exercise type and duration varies among people with MS, and it would behove healthcare professionals and researchers to consider promoting activities which align with individuals preferences and abilities when promoting exercise.
Article
Purpose: Physical activity (PA) participation offers many benefits for persons with multiple sclerosis (MS). Persons with MS are significantly less active than the general population; however, there is insufficient evidence regarding the association between geographical remoteness and PA participation in persons with MS. We identify PA levels across levels of rurality in an Australian MS population. Materials and methods: The Australian MS Longitudinal Study collects regular survey data from persons with MS in Australia, including demographic, clinical, and health behavioural data. Physical activity engagement was identified with the International Physical Activity Questionnaire-short form and geographical remoteness was identified from participants' postcode using the Access and Remoteness Index for Australia. Hurdle regression analysis examined the relationship between remoteness and PA participation, and level of PA, after controlling for confounding. Results: Data from 1260 respondents showed that 24% of persons with MS did not participate in any PA. Remoteness was not associated with the participation in any PA (OR 1.04; 89% highest density probability interval (HDPI) estimate 0.88, 1.22). Amongst those with any PA (n = 960), those living in more remote areas had, on average, higher levels of PA (RR 1.21; 89% HDPI estimate 1.11, 1.34). Conclusions: Physical activity promotion does not need to differ based on geographical location. Implications for rehabilitationAlmost one quarter of persons with MS in our study recorded no participation in any physical activity (PA).Healthcare practitioners are encouraged to include the promotion of PA as part of MS management.Physical activity participation is similar for persons with MS across different geographical locations.Physical activity promotion does not need to differ based on geographical location.
Article
Background : New disease modifying therapies (DMT) to control relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) have been introduced to the market in the past few years and are now widely used in Australia. Objective : To analyse the dispensed use of government subsidised RRMS DMTs in Australia from 1996 to 2019. Methods : We obtained data of dispensed use of DMTs from the Australian Government's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) administered by Medicare Australia. We measured use as defined daily dose (DDD) per 100,000 population per day. We obtained jurisdictional population data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Results : Total DMT use increased by an average of 18% annually, from 2.4 (in 1996) to 69.9 DDD/100,000/day in 2019. Interferon beta1B was the most commonly used medicine between 1996 and 2000, Interferon beta1A between 2001 and 2014, and fingolimod subsequently. Among Australian states, Tasmania (the southernmost state) had the highest dispensed DMT use of 94.6 DDD/100,000/day in 2019. Concession beneficiaries under the Government's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme had both lower use and cost per patient than general beneficiaries did. Fingolimod and ocrelizumab accounted for 55% of total expenditure on MS drug therapy in 2019. Conclusion : The use of oral DMTs might Increasingly replace parenteral treatments in the near future. Given the current substantial government expenditure on oral DMTs, it will become more imperative increasingly important to examine the real world effectiveness of DMTs.
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Background High-quality epidemiologic data worldwide are needed to improve our understanding of disease risk, support health policy to meet the diverse needs of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and support advocacy efforts. Objectives The Atlas of MS is an open-source global compendium of data regarding the epidemiology of MS and the availability of resources for people with MS reported at country, regional and global levels. Methods Country representatives reported epidemiologic data and their sources via survey between September 2019 and March 2020, covering prevalence and incidence in males, females and children, and age and MS type at diagnosis. Regional analyses and comparisons with 2013 data were conducted. Results A total of 2.8 million people are estimated to live with MS worldwide (35.9 per 100,000 population). MS prevalence has increased in every world region since 2013 but gaps in prevalence estimates persist. The pooled incidence rate across 75 reporting countries is 2.1 per 100,000 persons/year, and the mean age of diagnosis is 32 years. Females are twice as likely to live with MS as males. Conclusions The global prevalence of MS has risen since 2013, but good surveillance data is not universal. Action is needed by multiple stakeholders to close knowledge gaps.
Article
Background: Multiple sclerosis is a rare neurological disease which is addressed by few epidemiological studies in China. This population-based study aimed to estimate the prevalence of multiple sclerosis in China by using national medical insurance databases. Methods: Data from the Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance database and the Urban Residence Basic Medical Insurance database, which were collected during 2012-2016 and included approximately 0.20 billion residents in six provinces, were used in this population-based study. The prevalent patients with multiple sclerosis were identified via diagnostic text or disease codes. Results: The crude prevalence in 2016 was 2.44 per 100 000 population (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.18 to 2.72), with the prevalence of females being higher than that of males. The standardized prevalence (based on 2010 Chinese census data) was 2.29 (95% CI: 2.21 to 2.38). The prevalence in both sexes in 2016 increased up to the age range of 30-34-years-old. Subsequently, the female prevalence declined with increasing age, but the male prevalence stabilized with increasing age. During the five-year time period, the prevalence ranged from 2.32 (95% CI: 2.06 to 2.60) in 2015 to 2.91 (95% CI: 2.39 to 3.47) in 2012. Conclusions: The prevalence of multiple sclerosis in China was lower than that in Europe and North America. The temporal trend of prevalence in China was also observed to be stable. As the first prevalence study of multiple sclerosis in mainland China, this population-based study can provide useful information for worldwide health care services and prevention of multiple sclerosis.
Article
Background Many people with multiple sclerosis (MS) modify their dietary intake post diagnosis, but there is little evidence that dietary modifications influence MS outcomes. Methods People with a first clinical diagnosis of central nervous system demyelination were followed annually for 10 years. Depression, anxiety, and fatigue were assessed at the 5-and 10-year reviews using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and Fatigue Severity Scale, respectively. Dietary intake in the preceding 12 months was assessed at baseline, and 5-and 10-year reviews using a food frequency questionnaire. We used the Australian Recommended Food Score (ARFS) and the Diet Quality Tracker (DQT) to assess diet quality. Results A higher diet quality in the previous 12 months using the ARFS score, but not the DQT, was associated with lower levels of depression (e.g., highest vs lowest quartile: β=-1.35,95%CI=-2.44,-0.26,p=0.01), but neither score was associated with anxiety or fatigue. After assessing diet quality prospectively with outcomes five years later, we found that higher ARFS score, but not DQT score, was associated with lower levels of subsequent anxiety and depression (highest vs lowest quartile; Anxiety: β=-1.61,95%CI=-2.76,-0.46,p=0.01, Depression: β=-1.25,95%CI=-2.44,-0.07,p=0.04), but not fatigue. No associations were observed between diet quality and subsequent change in depression and anxiety over five years, although an association was observed between diet quality and change in fatigue (e.g., highest vs lowest DQT quartile: β=-1.06,95%CI=-1.92,-0.21,p=0.02). When examining the cumulative effect of diet quality across the study period with our 10-year outcomes, only the cumulative DQT score was associated with depression but not anxiety or fatigue. Conclusion We found significant inverse associations between diet quality and depression and anxiety, but the effect sizes were modest and there was a lack of consistency between the two diet quality measures (ARFS and DQT). A diet measure that correlates with diet quality might underlie our observed associations.
Article
Introduction: Smoking is a key modifiable risk factor for health outcomes of people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Little evidence exists on whether the information and support needs of people with MS who smoke are met. This study aimed to explore knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about smoking and quitting, and quitting support needs in Australian people with MS. Methods: Current and recent smokers were recruited for phone interviews through social media and newsletters. Interview data were analysed in NVivo using framework analysis. Results: We interviewed 25 people with MS (20 current and five recent smokers). Many participants had little knowledge about the risks of smoking on MS progression. Some reported perceived benefits from smoking on MS symptoms, while others perceived smoking worsening their symptoms. Similarly, quitting was believed to have health benefits, but concerns about withdrawal symptoms and the impact on MS symptoms and relapses were common. Participants reported ambivalence discussing smoking with clinicians; some wanting more information and support, while also feeling shame or guilt. Many participants were asked about their smoking status by MS clinicians, however, the provision of evidence-based information, and referrals to quitting support services was very infrequent. General practitioners were often found helpful and supportive, but participants gave more weight to quit advice from MS clinicians. Conclusion: Our results are the first to indicate that smoking cessation needs of Australian people with MS are not met. These findings should be confirmed in a larger sample, but there is potential to investigate whether implementing routine provision of brief advice in MS care, as a coordinated effort between MS researchers, practitioners, consumer advocates and behavioural intervention services, may meet these needs. Further, developing targeted resources and training quit counsellors to provide appropriate information and support specific to people with MS may improve smoking cessation success in people with MS.
Article
Background : There is minimal information on the utilisation of Disease Modifying Treatment (DMTs) for multiple sclerosis. The appropriate and safe use of medicines is informed by utilisation studies. Outcomes can inform health interventions to improve appropriate use of medicines and post marketing surveillance activities to improve safety. Objective : To evaluate utilisation and treatment patterns of disease modifying treatments (DMTs) for Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS). Methods : A representative sample of the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme data were analysed (2006-2016). Demographics of incident users and trends in incident and prevalent users were determined. Individual patient treatment pathways were determined by sequential initiation of medicines in two different periods (2006-2013 and 2014-2019). Results : There were 20,660 patients with at least one dispensing of a DMT for RRMS during the study period (median age 41 years, 75% female). Incident and prevalent use increased by 20% and 88% respectively. The market was responsive to 13 new listings of DMTs over the study period. Sequential treatment was found for 66% of initiators in 2006-2013 and 28.5% of initiators in 2014-2019. Diverse treatment pathways were found, with 278 and 93 unique sequences in 2006-2013 and 2014-2019 respectively. Conclusion : The availability of new DMTs has influenced both initial treatment choice and prevalence of users. Individualised treatment patterns and exposure to multiple medicines over time will challenge traditional pharmacovigilance systems.
Article
Purpose: The Australian multiple sclerosis (MS) community experienced two recent major crises, widespread bushfires and the COVID 19 pandemic. We aimed to understand the needs of persons with MS during times of crisis. Materials and methods: A consumer-directed mixed-method study. We included an online survey, semi-structured interviews, and a workshop with persons with MS, carers, healthcare professionals, and disability advocates. Data were collected via: (1) 176 people completing online surveys to identify crisis concerns and communications, (2) 29 people completing online interviews on bushfire and pandemic impact, and (3) 13 people participating in a crises-priorities workshop. Descriptive data were calculated for survey response, and a general inductive analytical approach was taken with interview and workshop responses. Results: The most significant concerns were bushfire smoke exposure and disease-modifying-medication and susceptibility to COVID-19 (66% and 63% mean concern score, respectively). Interviews indicated crises experiences from the bushfires, and the pandemic overlapped respective of changes in mood and symptom stability. For bushfires, a need for future preparations, and for the pandemic, the benefits of social restrictions, disclosing personal health information and increased care burden were important. Conclusions: Multiple crises challenged the MS community but offered lessons for healthcare in future crises. Continued progress in centralised crisis information, with considered use of telehealth and rural healthcare support, is needed.Implications for rehabilitationThe MS community showed high concerns for the effect of toxic smoke from the 2019/2020 Australian bushfires and, separately, for the disease-modifying-medication and susceptibility to COVID-19.The MS community placed priority on a crisis management plan for individuals.Reduced social activity due to restrictions was beneficial for MS symptom self-awareness and may help overall fatigue management.Healthcare system preparation must prepare to alleviate increased carer workload at times of crisis.
Article
In 2018, the first list of rare diseases was published by the National Health Council of China, and multiple sclerosis (MS) was included in this list. Since then, the Chinese government and neurologists have made efforts to improve the clinical outcomes of patients with MS. During last few years, the incidence of MS in China was also investigated. The early and accurate diagnosis of MS was improved due to the application and promotion of magnetic resonance imaging and new diagnosis criteria. The market for and medical insurance access to disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) has been greatly accelerated, which has provided more treatment options and improved clinical outcomes for patients with MS, as well as reduced treatment cost. The pattern of MS in China is gradually changing, from delayed to early diagnosis, and from no treatment to treatment with DMTs during remission. This narrative review aimed to summarize an update to the status of MS in China, including incidence and prevalence, diagnosis, and available treatments. This would help to better understand the diagnosis and treatment gap between mainland China and other Asian regions, demonstrating the necessity of accurate diagnosis and optimized treatment of MS in China.
Article
Background and aim: The prevalence of primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) reported in different countries varies significantly and in some parts of the world appears to be increasing. The aim of this study was to determine the 2013 prevalence of PBC in Victoria, Australia, and to determine the time trend by comparing it to previous studies undertaken in 1991 and 2002. Methods: Four case-finding methods were used to identify cases of PBC in Victoria. 1. Physicians' survey; 2. Tertiary hospital search; 3. Liver Transplant Database search; 4. Private Pathology Anti-Mitochondrial Antibody (AMA) search. Results: The prevalence of PBC in Victoria Australia is 189.0 per million using all four methods. The average annual increase in prevalence from 1991 to 2013 was 7.7 per million per year. Using the same case finding methods as the 1991 Victorian prevalence study (methods 1, 2), the prevalence of PBC increased from 19.1 per million in 1991 to 49.4 per million in 2002 (p<0.001) and to 80.7 per million in 2013 (p<0.001.) CONCLUSIONS: The current prevalence of PBC in Victoria is significantly higher than previously reported. The use of private pathology-based case-finding methods is important in identifying the maximum number of PBC cases.
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Objective: To generate a national multiple sclerosis (MS) prevalence estimate for the United States by applying a validated algorithm to multiple administrative health claims (AHC) datasets. Methods: A validated algorithm was applied to private, military, and public AHC datasets to identify adult cases of MS between 2008 and 2010. In each dataset, we determined the 3-year cumulative prevalence overall and stratified by age, sex, and census region. We applied insurance-specific and stratum-specific estimates to the 2010 US Census data and pooled the findings to calculate the 2010 prevalence of MS in the United States cumulated over 3 years. We also estimated the 2010 prevalence cumulated over 10 years using 2 models and extrapolated our estimate to 2017. Results: The estimated 2010 prevalence of MS in the US adult population cumulated over 10 years was 309.2 per 100,000 (95% confidence interval [CI] 308.1-310.1), representing 727,344 cases. During the same time period, the MS prevalence was 450.1 per 100,000 (95% CI 448.1-451.6) for women and 159.7 (95% CI 158.7-160.6) for men (female:male ratio 2.8). The estimated 2010 prevalence of MS was highest in the 55- to 64-year age group. A US north-south decreasing prevalence gradient was identified. The estimated MS prevalence is also presented for 2017. Conclusion: The estimated US national MS prevalence for 2010 is the highest reported to date and provides evidence that the north-south gradient persists. Our rigorous algorithm-based approach to estimating prevalence is efficient and has the potential to be used for other chronic neurologic conditions.
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Background: Little is known about the work productivity loss in multiple sclerosis (MS). Objectives: To quantify the MS-related work productivity loss and to compare factors associated with labour force participation and work productivity loss. Methods: Participants were from the Australian MS Longitudinal Study. MS-related work productivity loss included absenteeism (time missed from work) and presenteeism (reduced productivity while working). Data were analysed using log-binomial and Cragg hurdle regression. Results: Among 740 MS employees, 56% experienced any work productivity loss due to MS in the past 4 weeks. The mean total work productivity loss was 2.5 days (14.2% lost productive time), absenteeism 0.6 days (3.4%) and presenteeism 1.9 days (10.8%)), leading to AU$6767 (US$4985, EURO€4578) loss per person annually. Multivariable analyses showed that work productivity was determined most strongly by symptoms, particularly 'fatigue and cognitive symptoms' and 'pain and sensory symptoms', while older age, and lower education level were also predictive of not being in the labour force. Conclusion: MS-related presenteeism was three times higher than absenteeism, highlighting the importance of presenteeism being included in employment outcomes. The dominance of symptom severity as predictors of both work participation and productivity loss emphasises the need for improved management of symptoms.
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The 2010 McDonald criteria for the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis are widely used in research and clinical practice. Scientific advances in the past 7 years suggest that they might no longer provide the most up-to-date guidance for clinicians and researchers. The International Panel on Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis reviewed the 2010 McDonald criteria and recommended revisions. The 2017 McDonald criteria continue to apply primarily to patients experiencing a typical clinically isolated syndrome, define what is needed to fulfil dissemination in time and space of lesions in the CNS, and stress the need for no better explanation for the presentation. The following changes were made: in patients with a typical clinically isolated syndrome and clinical or MRI demonstration of dissemination in space, the presence of CSF-specific oligoclonal bands allows a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis; symptomatic lesions can be used to demonstrate dissemination in space or time in patients with supratentorial, infratentorial, or spinal cord syndrome; and cortical lesions can be used to demonstrate dissemination in space. Research to further refine the criteria should focus on optic nerve involvement, validation in diverse populations, and incorporation of advanced imaging, neurophysiological, and body fluid markers.
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Summary Background Comparable data on the global and country-specific burden of neurological disorders and their trends are crucial for health-care planning and resource allocation. The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors (GBD) Study provides such information but does not routinely aggregate results that are of interest to clinicians specialising in neurological conditions. In this systematic analysis, we quantified the global disease burden due to neurological disorders in 2015 and its relationship with country development level. Methods We estimated global and country-specific prevalence, mortality, disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), years of life lost (YLLs), and years lived with disability (YLDs) for various neurological disorders that in the GBD classification have been previously spread across multiple disease groupings. The more inclusive grouping of neurological disorders included stroke, meningitis, encephalitis, tetanus, Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease, migraine, tension-type headache, medication overuse headache, brain and nervous system cancers, and a residual category of other neurological disorders. We also analysed results based on the Socio-demographic Index (SDI), a compound measure of income per capita, education, and fertility, to identify patterns associated with development and how countries fare against expected outcomes relative to their level of development. Findings Neurological disorders ranked as the leading cause group of DALYs in 2015 (250·7 [95% uncertainty interval (UI) 229·1 to 274·7] million, comprising 10·2% of global DALYs) and the second-leading cause group of deaths (9·4 [9·1 to 9·7] million], comprising 16·8% of global deaths). The most prevalent neurological disorders were tension-type headache (1505·9 [UI 1337·3 to 1681·6 million cases]), migraine (958·8 [872·1 to 1055·6] million), medication overuse headache (58·5 [50·8 to 67·4 million]), and Alzheimer's disease and other dementias (46·0 [40·2 to 52·7 million]). Between 1990 and 2015, the number of deaths from neurological disorders increased by 36·7%, and the number of DALYs by 7·4%. These increases occurred despite decreases in age-standardised rates of death and DALYs of 26·1% and 29·7%, respectively; stroke and communicable neurological disorders were responsible for most of these decreases. Communicable neurological disorders were the largest cause of DALYs in countries with low SDI. Stroke rates were highest at middle levels of SDI and lowest at the highest SDI. Most of the changes in DALY rates of neurological disorders with development were driven by changes in YLLs. Interpretation Neurological disorders are an important cause of disability and death worldwide. Globally, the burden of neurological disorders has increased substantially over the past 25 years because of expanding population numbers and ageing, despite substantial decreases in mortality rates from stroke and communicable neurological disorders. The number of patients who will need care by clinicians with expertise in neurological conditions will continue to grow in coming decades. Policy makers and health-care providers should be aware of these trends to provide adequate services. Funding Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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Compared with other areas of the country, very limited data are available on multiple sclerosis (MS) prevalence in Central Italy. We aimed to estimate MS prevalence in the Lazio region and its geographical distribution using regional health information systems (HIS). To identify MS cases we used data from drug prescription, hospital discharge and ticket exemption registries. Crude, age- and gender-specific prevalence estimates on December 31, 2011 were calculated. To compare MS prevalence between different areas within the region, we calculated age- and gender-adjusted prevalence and prevalence ratios using a multivariate Poisson regression model. Crude prevalence rate was 130.5/100,000 (95 % CI 127.5-133.5): 89.7/100,000 for males and 167.9/100,000 for females. The overall prevalence rate standardized to the European Standard Population was 119.6/100,000 (95 % CI 116.8-122.4). We observed significant differences in MS prevalence within the region, with estimates ranging from 96.3 (95 % CI 86.4-107.3) for Latina to 169.6 (95 % CI 147.6-194.9) for Rieti. Most districts close to the coast showed lower prevalence estimates compared to those situated in the eastern mountainous area of the region. In conclusion, this study produced a MS prevalence estimate at regional level using population-based health administrative databases. Our results showed the Lazio region is a high-risk area for MS, although with an uneven geographical distribution. While some limitations must be considered including possible prevalence underestimation, HIS represent a valuable source of information to measure the burden of SM, useful for epidemiological surveillance and healthcare planning.
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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system with a multifactorial aetiology and highly variable natural history. A growing understanding of the immunopathogenesis of the condition has led to an expanding array of therapies for this previously untreatable disease. While a cure for MS remains elusive, the potential to reduce inflammatory disease activity by preventing relapses and minimising disease progression is achievable. The importance of early treatment in minimising long-term disability is increasingly recognised. Most of the newer, more effective therapies are associated with risks and practical problems that necessitate an active management strategy and continuous vigilance. While the initiation of these therapies is likely to remain the responsibility of neurologists, other specialist physicians and general practitioners will be involved in the identification and management of adverse effects.
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Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of multiple sclerosis (MS) in Australia in 2010 using a novel method based on Australia-wide prescription data for MS-specific disease modifying agents. The results obtained were validated against two other prevalence estimates. Methods: We obtained the total number of scripts for medications that were used exclusively for the treatment of MS written in Australia for the period January-December 2010. The percentage of MS patients using medications (42-55%) was taken from state-specific surveys of MS Society clients. To estimate prevalence we divided the annual number of scripts dispensed by 12 and adjusted for penetration of medications by state. Results: The prevalence of MS in Australia in 2010 calculated using the prescription method was 21,283 people (95.5/100,000). This compared to 21,200 people (95.2/100,000) obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) survey of 2009 and 20,471 people (91.9/100,000) using MS Society client numbers. Prevalence increased with increasing latitude, with the prevalence for Tasmania over seven times that of the Northern Territory. Results were sensitive to the percentage of people with MS being treated. Conclusions: Calculation of prevalence of MS using nation-wide prescription data is a novel method that generates results similar to other potentially more resource-intensive methods.
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Background: Surveying volunteer members of a multiple sclerosis registry is a very cost-effective way of assessing the impact of the disease on life outcomes. However, whether the data from such a study can be generalised to the whole population of persons living with MS in a country or region is unclear. Methods: Here we compare the demographic and disease characteristics of participants in one such study, the Australian Multiple Sclerosis Longitudinal Study (AMSLS), with two well-characterised MS prevalence studies with near-complete ascertainment of MS in their study regions. Results: Although some differences were found, these largely represented the effects of geography (sex ratios) and local factors (national immunomodulatory therapy prescribing requirements), and the cohorts were otherwise comparable. Overall, despite comprising only 12-16% of MS cases in Australia, the AMSLS is highly representative of the MS population. Conclusions: Therefore with some minor caveats, the AMSLS data can be generalised to the whole Australasian MS population. Volunteer disease registries such as this can be highly representative and provide an excellent convenience sample when studying rare conditions such as MS.
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To prospectively characterise treatment persistence and predictors of treatment discontinuation in an Australian relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) population. Tertiary MS treatment centres participating in the MSBase registry prospectively assessed treatment utilisation, persistence, predictors of treatment discontinuation and switch rates. Multivariable survival analyses were used to compare treatment persistence between drugs and to identify predictors of treatment discontinuation. 1113 RRMS patients were studied. Patients persisted on their first disease-modifying therapy (DMT) for a median of 2.5 years. Treatment persistence on GA was shorter than on all IFNβ products (p<0.03). Younger age at treatment initiation and higher EDSS were predictive of DMT discontinuation. Patients persisted on subsequent DMTs, for 2.3 years. Patients receiving natalizumab (NAT) as a subsequent DMT persisted longer on treatment than those on IFNβ or GA (p<0.000). The primary reason for treatment discontinuation for any drug class was poor tolerability. Annualised switch or cessation rates were 9.5-12.5% for individual IFNβ products, 11.6% for GA and 4.4% for NAT. This multicentre MS cohort study is the first to directly compare treatment persistence on IFNβ and GA to NAT. We report that treatment persistence in our Australian RRMS population is short, although patients receiving IFNβ as a first DMT persisted longer on treatment than those on GA. Additionally, patients receiving NAT as a subsequent DMT were more likely to persist on treatment than those switched to IFNβ or GA. EDSS and age at DMT initiation were predictive of DMT discontinuation. Treatment intolerance was the principal reason for treatment cessation.
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There is a striking latitudinal gradient in multiple sclerosis (MS) prevalence, but exceptions in Mediterranean Europe and northern Scandinavia, and some systematic reviews, have suggested that the gradient may be an artefact. The authors sought to evaluate the association between MS prevalence and latitude by meta-regression. Studies were sourced from online databases, reference mining and author referral. Prevalence estimates were age-standardised to the 2009 European population. Analyses were carried out by means of random-effects meta-regression, weighted with the inverse of within-study variance. The authors included 650 prevalence estimates from 321 peer-reviewed studies; 239 were age-standardised, and 159 provided sex-specific data. The authors found a significant positive association (change in prevalence per degree-latitude) between age-standardised prevalence (1.04, p<0.001) and latitude that diminished at high latitudes. Adjustment for prevalence year strengthened the association with latitude (2.60, p<0.001). An inverse gradient in the Italian region reversed on adjustment for MS-associated HLA-DRB1 allele distributions. Adjustment for HLA-DRB1 allele frequencies did not appreciably alter the gradient in Europe. Adjustment for some potential sources of bias did not affect the observed associations. This, the most comprehensive review of MS prevalence to date, has confirmed a statistically significant positive association between MS prevalence and latitude globally. Exceptions to the gradient in the Italian region and northern Scandinavia are likely a result of genetic and behavioural-cultural variations. The persistence of a positive gradient in Europe after adjustment for HLA-DRB1 allele frequencies strongly supports a role for environmental factors which vary with latitude, the most prominent candidates being ultraviolet radiation (UVR)/vitamin D.
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New evidence and consensus has led to further revision of the McDonald Criteria for diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. The use of imaging for demonstration of dissemination of central nervous system lesions in space and time has been simplified, and in some circumstances dissemination in space and time can be established by a single scan. These revisions simplify the Criteria, preserve their diagnostic sensitivity and specificity, address their applicability across populations, and may allow earlier diagnosis and more uniform and widespread use.
Article
Background The direct comparative evidence on treatment effects of available multiple sclerosis (MS) disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) is limited, and few studies have examined the benefits of DMTs on employment outcomes. We compared the effects of DMTs used in the previous 5 years on improving the work attendance, amount of work and work productivity of people with MS. Methods The Australian MS Longitudinal Study collected data from participants on DMTs usage from 2010 to 2015 and whether DMTs contributed to changes in employment outcomes. We classified 11 DMTs into three categories based on their clinical efficacy (β-interferons and glatiramer acetate as category 1; teriflunomide and dimethyl fumarate as category 2; fingolimod, natalizumab, alemtuzumab and mitoxantrone as category 3). Each DMT used by a participant was treated as one observation and analysed by log-multinomial regression. Results Of the 874 participants included, 1384 observations were generated. Those who used category 3 (higher efficacy) DMTs were 2–3 times more likely to report improvements in amount of work, work attendance and work productivity compared with those who used category 1 (classical injectable) DMTs. Natalizumab was associated with superior beneficial effects on patient-reported employment outcomes than fingolimod (RR=1.76, 95% CI 1.02 to 3.03 for increased work attendance and RR=1.46, 95% CI 1.02 to 2.10 for increased work productivity). Conclusions Those using the higher efficacy (category 3) DMTs, particularly fingolimod and natalizumab, reported significant increases in amount of work, work attendance and work productivity, suggesting they have important beneficial effects on work life in people with MS.
Article
Background: To assess the incidence rate and prevalence ratio of multiple sclerosis (MS) in Austria. Methods: Hospital discharge diagnosis and MS-specific immunomodulatory treatment prescriptions from public health insurances, covering 98% of Austrian citizens with health insurance were used to extrapolate incidence and prevalence numbers based on the capture-recapture method. Results: A total of 1,392,629 medication prescriptions and 40,956 hospitalizations were extracted from 2 data sources, leading to a total of 13,205 patients. The incidence rate and prevalence ratio of MS in Austria based on the capture-recapture method were 19.5/100,000 person-years (95% CI 14.3-24.7) and 158.9/100,000 (95% CI 141.2-175.9), respectively. Female to male ratio was 1.6 for incidence and 2.2 for prevalence. Conclusions: Incidence rates and prevalence ratios of MS in our study are within the upper range of comparable studies across many European countries as well as the United States.
Article
Background Age at onset (AAO) in multiple sclerosis (MS) is an important marker of disease severity and may have prognostic significance. Understanding what factors can influence AAO may shed light on the aetiology of this complex disease, and have applications in the diagnostic process. Methods The study cohort of 22 162 eligible patients from 21 countries was extracted from the MSBase registry. Only patients with MS aged ≥16 years were included. To reduce heterogeneity, only centres of largely European descent were included for analysis. AAO was defined as the year of the first symptom suggestive of inflammatory central nervous system demyelination. Predictors of AAO were evaluated by linear regression. Results Compared with those living in lower latitudes (19.0–39.9°), onset of symptoms was 1.9 years earlier for those at higher latitudes (50.0–56.0°) (p=3.83×10⁻²³). A reciprocal relationship was seen for ambient ultraviolet radiation (UVR), with a significantly increasing AAO for patients with MS per each quartile increment of ambient UVR (p=1.56×10⁻¹⁷). We found that the AAO of female patients was ∼5 months earlier than male patients (p=0.002). AAO of progressive-onset patients with MS were ∼9 years later than relapsing-onset patients (p=1.40×10⁻²⁶⁵). Conclusions An earlier AAO in higher latitude regions was found in this worldwide European-descent cohort and correlated inversely with variation in latitudinal UVR. These results suggest that environmental factors which act at the population level may significantly influence disease severity characteristics in genetically susceptible populations.
Article
Background: Since 1959, multiple sclerosis (MS) prevalence has been estimated for the east coast Australian city of Newcastle. Previous surveys, conducted in 1988 and 2003, have described an increase in the prevalence and incidence of MS. Objectives: In this study, we evaluated whether these trends continue and provide 50 years of MS epidemiological follow-up for this southern hemisphere city. Methods: Expressed per 100,000 people, prevalence of MS in Newcastle was calculated for those with a confirmed diagnosis of MS on 9 August 2011 and incidence based on the number of cases with MS diagnosis made during the preceding decade. Data were age-standardised to the total Australian population. Statistical comparisons were undertaken using Poisson regression analysis. Results: In 2011, the estimate of MS prevalence was 124.2, with female-to-male ratio reaching 3.1, a 53% increase in female predominance since 1996. MS incidence increased to 6.7, with a significantly higher proportion of new female cases since the previous survey. Conclusion: Prevalence of MS in Newcastle has risen linearly and is contributed to by a substantial increase in new cases over the preceding decade. Female predominance of MS cases continues to increase with a new diagnosis three times more likely in women.
Article
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a multifaceted condition, with a range of environmental, behavioural and genetic factors implicated in its aetiology and clinical course. Successes in advancing our appreciation of the roles of Epstein-Barr virus, vitamin D/UV and the HLA-DRB1 locus; and our greater understanding of these and related factors' modes of action in MS and other conditions, can be attributed in no small part to the work of generations of epidemiologists. Hardly content to rest on our laurels, however, there are yet a range of unsolved conundrums in MS, including some changes in epidemiological characteristics (e.g. increasing incidence and sex ratio), to say nothing of the unresolved parts regarding what underlies MS risk and its clinical course. There is evidence that epidemiology will continue to play a crucial role in unravelling the architecture of MS causation and clinical course. While classic epidemiological methods are ongoing, novel avenues for research include gene-environment interaction studies, the world of '-omic' research, and the utilisation of mobile and social media tools to both access and track study populations, which means that the epidemiological discoveries of the past century may be but a glimpse of our understanding in the next few decades. © The Author(s), 2015.
Article
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the world's most common neurologic disorders, and in many countries it is the leading cause of nontraumatic neurologic disability in young adults. Despite this, global information on the epidemiology of MS and the availability of resources and services for people with MS is scarce in many regions of the world. The first Atlas of MS, published in 2008 as a joint project of the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) and the World Health Organization (WHO),¹ endeavored to fill this knowledge gap with information from 112 countries. Here, we outline important updates in the recently launched Atlas of MS 2013: Mapping Multiple Sclerosis around the World.²
Article
Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) has a major impact on health and is a substantial burden on patients and society. We estimated the annual costs of MS in Australia from individual and societal perspectives using data from the Australian MS Longitudinal Study (AMSLS) and prevalence figures from 2010. Methods: Direct and indirect costs were estimated from a subsample of 712 AMSLS subjects who completed baseline and follow-up economic impact surveys. All costs are in 2010 Australian dollars (AUD). Results: Annual costs per person with MS were AUD48,945 (95% CI: 45,138 to 52,752). Total costs were AUD1.042 (0.9707 to 1.1227) billion based on a prevalence of 21,283. The largest component was indirect costs due to loss of productivity (48%). Costs increased with increasing disability: AUD36,369, AUD58,890 and AUD65,305 per patient per year for mild, moderate and severe disability, respectively. Total costs of MS to Australian society have increased 58% between 2005 and 2010. Conclusions: This study confirms that MS imposes a substantial burden on Australian society, particularly impacting on productivity. The burden increases with worsening disability associated with the disease. Investment in interventions that slow progression, as well as resources, services and environments that assist people with MS to retain employment, is supported.
Article
Alemtuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody that targets CD52 on lymphocytes and monocytes, may be an effective treatment for early multiple sclerosis. In this phase 2, randomized, blinded trial involving previously untreated, early, relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, we assigned 334 patients with scores of 3.0 or less on the Expanded Disability Status Scale and a disease duration of 3 years or less to receive either subcutaneous interferon beta-1a (at a dose of 44 microg) three times per week or annual intravenous cycles of alemtuzumab (at a dose of either 12 mg or 24 mg per day) for 36 months. In September 2005, alemtuzumab therapy was suspended after immune thrombocytopenic purpura developed in three patients, one of whom died. Treatment with interferon beta-1a continued throughout the study. Alemtuzumab significantly reduced the rate of sustained accumulation of disability, as compared with interferon beta-1a (9.0% vs. 26.2%; hazard ratio, 0.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.16 to 0.54; P<0.001) and the annualized rate of relapse (0.10 vs. 0.36; hazard ratio, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.16 to 0.41; P<0.001). The mean disability score on a 10-point scale improved by 0.39 point in the alemtuzumab group and worsened by 0.38 point in the interferon beta-1a group (P<0.001). In the alemtuzumab group, the lesion burden (as seen on T(2)-weighted magnetic resonance imaging) was reduced, as compared with that in the interferon beta-1a group (P=0.005). From month 12 to month 36, brain volume (as seen on T(1)-weighted magnetic resonance imaging) increased in the alemtuzumab group but decreased in the interferon beta-1a group (P=0.02). Adverse events in the alemtuzumab group, as compared with the interferon beta-1a group, included autoimmunity (thyroid disorders [23% vs. 3%] and immune thrombocytopenic purpura [3% vs. 1%]) and infections (66% vs. 47%). There were no significant differences in outcomes between the 12-mg dose and the 24-mg dose of alemtuzumab. In patients with early, relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, alemtuzumab was more effective than interferon beta-1a but was associated with autoimmunity, most seriously manifesting as immune thrombocytopenic purpura. The study was not powered to identify uncommon adverse events. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00050778.)
Article
An epidemiological survey of multiple sclerosis (MS) in three Australian cities, Perth, Newcastle and Hobart, was undertaken with its prevalence day being the national census day on June 30, 1981, exactly twenty years after a previous survey of the same cities. The relationship between increasing prevalence and increasing south latitude found in the 1961 survey was confirmed in this present study. Prevalence rates had increased significantly over the twenty years between the studies. Over the same time period incidence rates had also increased in Newcastle and Hobart but had remained essentially stable in Perth although these changes were not significant. The rise in prevalence was due to a combination of factors of differing importance in each city. These factors included better case ascertainment, increased recognition of the less severely disabled patient, increased survival time and differential immigration of a population at a higher risk of developing MS than the indigenous population. Finally, analysis of MS prevalence rates amongst migrant populations in Perth and Hobart suggested that either the risk of acquisition of MS may extend over a wider age range than is generally accepted or that environmental factors prevalent in the former city have modified disease expression there.
The economic impact of multiple sclerosis in Australia in 2010
  • A J Palmer
  • S Colman
  • B Leary
The health economics of multiple scelrosis in Australia in 2017
  • H Ahmad
  • J A Campbell
  • I Van Der Mei
Diagnosis of multiple sclerosis: 2017 revisions of the McDonald criteria
  • A J Thompson
  • Banwell
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  • F Barkhof