Predictors of Long-Term Disability Accrual in Relapse-Onset Multiple Sclerosis

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Abstract

Objective:

To identify predictors of 10-year Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) change after treatment initiation in patients with relapse-onset multiple sclerosis.

Methods:

Using data obtained from MSBase, we defined baseline as the date of first injectable therapy initiation. Patients need only have remained on injectable therapy for 1 day and were monitored on any approved disease-modifying therapy, or no therapy thereafter. Median EDSS score changes over a 10-year period were determined. Predictors of EDSS change were then assessed using median quantile regression analysis. Sensitivity analyses were further performed.

Results:

We identified 2,466 patients followed up for at least 10 years reporting post-baseline disability scores. Patients were treated an average 83% of their follow-up time. EDSS scores increased by a median 1 point (interquartile range = 0–2) at 10 years post-baseline. Annualized relapse rate was highly predictive of increases in median EDSS over 10 years (coeff = 1.14, p = 1.9 × 10−22). On-therapy relapses carried greater burden than off-therapy relapses. Cumulative treatment exposure was independently associated with lower EDSS at 10 years (coeff = −0.86, p = 1.3 × 10−9). Furthermore, pregnancies were also independently associated with lower EDSS scores over the 10-year observation period (coeff = −0.36, p = 0.009).

Interpretation:

We provide evidence of long-term treatment benefit in a large registry cohort, and provide evidence of long-term protective effects of pregnancy against disability accrual. We demonstrate that high annualized relapse rate, particularly on-treatment relapse, is an indicator of poor prognosis. Ann Neurol 2016;80:89–100

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