Elderly patients with multiple sclerosis who stop taking their medications find their disease worsening

There has been a significant improvement in the drugs that treat multiple sclerosis over the past decades, improving the quality of life and longevity of patients. However, treatment plans for older people with MS often do not take into account the change in medications currently available to treat the disease.

The standard of care with multiple sclerosis is stopping anti-inflammatory drugs in patients in their 50s and 60s. Due to the lack of efficacy as patients age, clinicians cannot justify the significant risks of these drugs, which typically suppress the immune system.

However, new research published in Multiple sclerosis and related disorders found some evidence that stopping medications in the elderly can lead to further worsening and progression of the disease. This study helps to clarify the best treatment for elderly patients with MS.

The first author of the article, Dejan Jakimovski, explains: “Our results raise important questions about the accepted practice of stopping drugs once patients with MS are between 50 and 60 years old.

“It is generally accepted that these elderly patients will not benefit from the disease-modifying drugs currently available.”

This new research adds to growing evidence that these findings were based on older drugs. Clinical trials and drugs have improved and may be a possible treatment option.

Worsening of conditions

The study was carried out on 216 MS patients with an average age of 50 who had stopped their treatment and were followed for an average of 4.6 years. Among the participants, 53 previously stable patients experienced worsening or progression of the disease after stopping their treatment.

This research contrasts sharply with older studies, which suggest that less than 10% of elderly patients with multiple sclerosis will have new relapses and disease worsening or progression after stopping their treatment.

As drugs and therapies for inflammation evolve, it is essential to continue research to find the best possible treatments and prevention for patients with all types of diseases. There is currently a larger, controlled trial underway, which the researchers hope will provide better understanding and further guidance for MS clinicians.

About Terry Gongora

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