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Multiple Sclerosis

Topic Spotlight

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More than 2.3 million people worldwide have a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, and nearly 1 million people in the United States over age 18 live with a diagnosis. (Source: National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

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MS is three times more common in women than in men. (Source: National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

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PCORI supports 13 comparative clinical effectiveness research studies that aim to help patients make better informed decisions about their options for preventing, diagnosing and treating MS. (As of February 2022)

Study Results that Support Better-Informed Decisions


Can Patients with MS Safely Stop Taking Medicine as They Age?

Although new results from the ongoing PCORI-funded DISCOMS trial—into whether some patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) can safely stop taking certain kinds of medications as they age—weren’t conclusive in either direction, the study’s lead researcher said the findings indicate that it is reasonable for some patients who have been on the medication for a long time to safely go off them.

Principal Investigator John Corboy, MD, at the University of Colorado in Aurora, presented the findings during the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers’ annual meeting in June 2022. While the study findings were not conclusive in either group, they have the potential to inform future practice and guide patients and their doctors with shared decision making. Further, discontinuation may be an appropriate choice for some patients with stable MS, resulting in potentially reducing the financial burden on patients taking DMT and the incidence of side effects often associated with the treatment.


COVID-19 Enhancement Follows Outcomes of Patients with MS Taking Certain Medicines

Through a PCORI research funding enhancement, which the PCORI-funded COMBAT-MS study received in 2020 to quickly initiate new research related to COVID-19, the team comparing the safety and effectiveness of long-term medicines used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) used its enhancement to see whether patients taking these drugs were more likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19 than the public. As reported in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, patients with MS treated with the drug rituximab were at increased risk of hospitalization but not ventilatory support or death from COVID‐19 compared to the general population.


Comparing Three Medicines to Treat Fatigue in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Fatigue is one of the most common problems among patients living with multiple sclerosis (MS). Three drugs—amantadine, modafinil, and methylphenidate—are commonly prescribed for reducing fatigue in patients with MS, but conclusive evidence for their effectiveness is lacking. As published in Lancet Neurology, the PCORI-funded TRIUMPHANT-MS study led by Bardia Nourbakhsh, MD, at Johns Hopkins University found that these three drugs were no more effective in reducing fatigue in a group of nearly 170 patients with MS than a placebo pill.

Multiple Sclerosis Study Spotlights