by Viktoria Papp
This joint session in cooperation with the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) covered a broad spectrum of important hot topics on multiple sclerosis (MS), starting with the potential of implementing patient-related outcomes in the clinical care of MS. The session, titled Scientific advances for immediate transition into clinical practice in multiple sclerosis, continued with updates on COVID-19 virus related issues in MS and a summary of the upcoming new ECTRIMS/EAN guidelines on the treatment of MS. The closing lecture showed how real-world data from registries and large cohorts could bring us closer to answering important treatment questions.
This session is warmly recommended to every physician interested in MS.
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Dr. Caroline Pot presented an overview of the evolvement of clinical outcome measures used to assess disease development and the impact of treatment. Her lecture focused on patient-reported outcomes (PROs), which is information received directly from patients, and highlighted the importance of patient empowerment in MS patient care. Besides the increasing interest in using PROs, we also heard about the challenges such as validation, standardisation and implementation according to different cultures and languages when it comes to the use of such measurements in daily clinical practice.
Prof. Barbara Kornek gave a comprehensive lecture about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on MS care. The pandemic affected the mental and emotional health of patients but it has also influenced the prescription patterns of disease-modifying treatments. Data were presented about several aspects of vaccination against Covid-19: (I) whether vaccination was linked to higher incidence of relapses or pseudo-relapses; II) how immune response developed towards Covid-19 vaccines among MS patients, especially those treated with anti-CD20 therapy; (III) timing of vaccination; and (IV) the safety and efficacy of re-vaccination. Furthermore, the impact of different variants of Covid-19 virus was discussed.
Prof. Maria Pia Amato spoke about the updated ECTRIMS/EAN treatment guidelines. The new guidelines focus on the adult population and on drugs authorised by the EMA. She presented the guideline development process and the eight main treatment topics where the expert group have updated their recommendations compared to the last guideline published in 2018. Dr. Melinda Magyari shared data from MS registries and large cohorts addressing important aspects of MS treatment. We were presented with real-world results that can change our treatment approach by providing several answers to MS treatment related questions. Magyari showed the benefits of starting DMT early and, in a subgroup of MS patients, starting DMT early with a high efficacy drug. The timing of treatment start was discussed regarding its effect on conversion from RRMS to SPMS. She highlighted data supporting MS doctors in decision-making about treatment switch (lateral switch vs. escalation) and eventual treatment stop.