In Part One, Quality of Life for MS Patients: Is it Health-Related?, we outlined four aspects to quality of life which include clinical health, role-performance, adaptability, and well-being. However, not one commenter mentioned disability in relation to Quality of Life. The overwhelming response was that we want to feel productive, to use our skills to pursue meaningful work, to enjoy simple pleasures, and to gain a satisfying sense of accomplishment. And as Sherry points out, we cannot beat “Father Time.”
In The Importance of Early Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis by James R. Miller, MD., found in the June 2004 Supplement to Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy (see pp. S4-S11), three significant trials are discussed in relationship to early treatment in MS.
So why doesn’t every MS patient take advantage of the DMDs to delay the accumulation of disability and thus protect their Quality of Life?
Disease-modifying agents provide great benefit to the MS patient but potentially come with undesirable side-effects such as fatigue, flu-like symptoms, depression, headaches, and injection site reactions. There may also be a lack of efficacy (no single DMD works for every patient) in which case the patient either tries another treatment or decides to go without.
The decision to use a DMD requires a balance of risk/reward. If the side-effects are so great that Quality of Life is negatively impacted, then you may decide to go without. I’ve known patients who made this decision and found themselves feeling much better without medication. Personally, I am seeing more benefit than risk in the use of my DMD of choice and plan to stick with the treatment plan for now.
Read this post in its entirety:
Quality of Life for MS Patients: The Role of Disease-Modifying Treatments (Part Two in Series)