Publications by authors named "Olga Skibina"

15 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Natalizumab, Fingolimod and Dimethyl Fumarate Use and Pregnancy-Related Relapse and Disability in Women With Multiple Sclerosis.

Neurology 2021 Apr 20. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

Department of Neuroscience, Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Objective: To investigate pregnancy-related disease activity in a contemporary multiple sclerosis (MS) cohort.

Methods: Using data from the MSBase Registry, we included pregnancies conceived after 31 Dec 2010 from women with relapsing-remitting MS or clinically isolated syndrome. Predictors of intrapartum relapse, and postpartum relapse and disability progression were determined by clustered logistic regression or Cox regression analyses.

Results: We included 1998 pregnancies from 1619 women with MS. Preconception annualized relapse rate (ARR) was 0.29 (95% CI 0.27-0.32), fell to 0.19 (0.14-0.24) in third trimester, and increased to 0.59 (0.51-0.67) in early postpartum. Among women who used fingolimod or natalizumab, ARR before pregnancy was 0.37 (0.28-0.49) and 0.29 (0.22-0.37), respectively, and increased during pregnancy. Intrapartum ARR decreased with preconception dimethyl fumarate use. ARR spiked after delivery across all DMT groups. Natalizumab continuation into pregnancy reduced the odds of relapse during pregnancy (OR 0.76 per month [0.60-0.95], p=0.017). DMT re-initiation with natalizumab protected against postpartum relapse (HR 0.11 [0.04-0.32], p<0.0001). Breastfeeding women were less likely to relapse (HR 0.61 [0.41-0.91], p=0.016). 5.6% of pregnancies were followed by confirmed disability progression, predicted by higher relapse activity in pregnancy and postpartum.

Conclusion: Intrapartum and postpartum relapse probabilities increased among women with MS after natalizumab or fingolimod cessation. In women considered to be at high relapse risk, use of natalizumab before pregnancy and continued up to 34 weeks gestation, with early re-initiation after delivery is an effective option to minimize relapse risks. Strategies of DMT use have to be balanced against potential fetal/neonatal complications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000012084DOI Listing
April 2021

Effect of Disease-Modifying Therapy on Disability in Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis Over 15 Years.

Neurology 2021 02 28;96(5):e783-e797. Epub 2020 Dec 28.

From CORe (T.K., I.D., S.S., C.M.), Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne; MS Centre (T.K., I.D., S.S., C.M.), Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Australia; Karolinska Institute (T.S.), Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Neuroscience (T.S., V.J., A.v.d.W., O.S., H.B.), Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne; Burnet Institute (T.S.), Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neurology and Center of Clinical Neuroscience (D.H., E.K.H.), General University Hospital and Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic; Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sense Organs (M. Trojano), University of Bari, Italy; Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena (G.I.), Sevilla, Spain; Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences (A.L.), University "G. d'Annunzio," Chieti; Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences (A.L.), University of Bologna, IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna, Italy; Hopital Notre Dame (A.P., M.G., P.D.), Montreal; CHUM and Universite de Montreal (A.P., M.G., P.D.); CISSS Chaudière-Appalache (P.G.), Levis, Canada; Department of Neurology (V.J., A.v.d.W., O.S., H.B.), Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Neuro Rive-Sud (F. Grand'Maison), Quebec, Canada; Department of Neuroscience (P.S., D.F.), Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria, Modena, Italy; Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (V.S.), Isfahan, Iran; Amiri Hospital (R. Alroughani), Kuwait City, Kuwait; Zuyderland Ziekenhuis (R.H.), Sittard, the Netherlands; Medical Faculty (M. Terzi), 19 Mayis University, Samsun; KTU Medical Faculty Farabi Hospital (C.B.), Karadeniz Technical University, Trabzon, Turkey; School of Medicine and Public Health (J.L.-S.), University Newcastle; Department of Neurology (J.L.-S.), John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, Australia; UOC Neurologia (E.P.), Azienda Sanitaria Unica Regionale Marche-AV3, Macerata, Italy; Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc (V.V.P.), Brussels, Belgium; University of Parma (F. Granella); C. Mondino National Neurological Institute (R.B.), Pavia; Azienda Ospedaliera di Rilievo Nazionale San Giuseppe Moscati Avellino (D.S.), Italy; Flinders University (M. Slee), Adelaide; Westmead Hospital (S.V.), Sydney, Australia; Nemocnice Jihlava (R. Ampapa), Czech Republic; University of Queensland (P.M.), Brisbane; Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (P.M.), Brisbane, Australia; Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol (C.R.-T.), Badalona, Spain; CSSS Saint-Jérôme (J.P.), Canada; Hospital Universitario Donostia (J.O.), Paseo de Begiristain, San Sebastián, Spain; Hospital Italiano (E.C.), Buenos Aires, Argentina; Brain and Mind Centre (M.B.), University of Sydney, Australia; INEBA-Institute of Neuroscience Buenos Aires (M.L.S.), Argentina; Hospital de Galdakao-Usansolo (J.L.S.-M.), Galdakao, Spain; Liverpool Hospital (S. Hodgkinson), Sydney, Australia; Jahn Ferenc Teaching Hospital (C.R.), Budapest, Hungary; Craigavon Area Hospital (S. Hughes), UK; Jewish General Hospital (F.M.), Montreal, Canada; Deakin University (C.S.), Geelong; Monash Medical Centre (E.B.), Melbourne, Australia; South East Trust (O.G.), Belfast, UK; Perron Institute (A.K.), University of Western Australia, Nedlands; Institute of Immunology and Infectious Diseases (A.K.), Murdoch University; Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (A.K.), Perth, Australia; Department of Neurology (T.C.), Faculty of Medicine, University of Debrecen, Hungary; Bombay Hospital Institute of Medical Sciences (B.S.), Mumbai, India; St Vincents Hospital (N.S.), Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia; Veszprém Megyei Csolnoky Ferenc Kórház zrt (I.P.), Veszprem, Hungary; Royal Hobart Hospital (B.T.), Australia; Semmelweis University Budapest (M. Simo), Hungary; Central Military Emergency University Hospital (C.-A.S.), Bucharest; Titu Maiorescu University (C.-A.S.), Bucharest, Romania; BAZ County Hospital (A.S.), Miskolc, Hungary; and Box Hill Hospital (H.B.), Melbourne, Australia.

Objective: To test the hypothesis that immunotherapy prevents long-term disability in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), we modeled disability outcomes in 14,717 patients.

Methods: We studied patients from MSBase followed for ≥1 year, with ≥3 visits, ≥1 visit per year, and exposed to MS therapy, and a subset of patients with ≥15-year follow-up. Marginal structural models were used to compare the cumulative hazards of 12-month confirmed increase and decrease in disability, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) step 6, and the incidence of relapses between treated and untreated periods. Marginal structural models were continuously readjusted for patient age, sex, pregnancy, date, disease course, time from first symptom, prior relapse history, disability, and MRI activity.

Results: A total of 14,717 patients were studied. During the treated periods, patients were less likely to experience relapses (hazard ratio 0.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.43-0.82, = 0.0016), worsening of disability (0.56, 0.38-0.82, = 0.0026), and progress to EDSS step 6 (0.33, 0.19-0.59, = 0.00019). Among 1,085 patients with ≥15-year follow-up, the treated patients were less likely to experience relapses (0.59, 0.50-0.70, = 10) and worsening of disability (0.81, 0.67-0.99, = 0.043).

Conclusion: Continued treatment with MS immunotherapies reduces disability accrual by 19%-44% (95% CI 1%-62%), the risk of need of a walking aid by 67% (95% CI 41%-81%), and the frequency of relapses by 40-41% (95% CI 18%-57%) over 15 years. This study provides evidence that disease-modifying therapies are effective in improving disability outcomes in relapsing-remitting MS over the long term.

Classification Of Evidence: This study provides Class IV evidence that, for patients with relapsing-remitting MS, long-term exposure to immunotherapy prevents neurologic disability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011242DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7884998PMC
February 2021

Fast and safe: Optimising multiple sclerosis infusions during COVID-19 pandemic.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2021 Jan 1;47:102642. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Alfred Health, Clinical Neurosciences, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neuroscience, Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne Australia.

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic challenges multiple sclerosis services to be innovative in delivering infusible therapies. To reduce time in clinical settings, and potential staff or space losses, we implemented rapid infusion protocols for selected patients.

Objective: To analyse the rate of infusion related reactions and patient experience of rapid infusions of natalizumab and ocrelizumab. To document time reduction patients spent in clinical settings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: Patients with prior exposure to at least three natalizumab or two 300mg ocrelizumab infusions were approved for rapid protocols. A retrospective audit and survey were completed.

Results: We analysed 269 rapid natalizumab infusions and 100 rapid ocrelizumab infusions. Infusion related reactions during the natalizumab or ocrelizumab infusions occurred in two patients (1.52%) and eight patients (8%), respectively. All infusion related reactions were mild to moderate and did not require infusion discontinuation. No infusion reactions occurred during the post-infusion observation. Patient experience was positive.

Conclusion: Frequency or severity of infusion related reactions in rapid infusions were no different compared to published data. In the setting of COVID-19, pandemic rapid infusion protocols could potentially save hospital resources and limit patient exposure to a high-risk clinical setting while still maintaining ongoing treatment of multiple sclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2020.102642DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7955770PMC
January 2021

Association of Pregnancy With the Onset of Clinically Isolated Syndrome.

JAMA Neurol 2020 Sep 14. Epub 2020 Sep 14.

Department of Neurology, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Importance: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is usually diagnosed in women during their childbearing years. Currently, no consensus exists on whether pregnancy can delay the first episode of demyelination or clinically isolated syndrome (CIS).

Objective: To investigate the association of pregnancy with time to CIS onset.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This multicenter cohort study collected reproductive history (duration of each pregnancy, date of delivery, length of breastfeeding) on all participants between September 1, 2016, and June 25, 2019. Adult women being treated at the MS outpatient clinics of 4 tertiary hospitals in 2 countries (Charles University and General University Hospital in Prague, Czech Republic; Royal Melbourne Hospital in Melbourne, Australia; Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia; and John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, Australia) were recruited to participate in the study. Preexisting data (date of CIS onset, date of birth, sex, date of clinical onset, and Expanded Disability Status Scale result) were collected from MSBase, an international registry of long-term prospectively collected data on patients with MS. Data analyses were performed from June 1, 2019, to February 3, 2020.

Exposures: Gravida (defined as any pregnancy, including pregnancy that ended in miscarriage and induced abortion) and parity (defined as childbirth after gestational age of more than 20 weeks, including livebirth and stillbirth) before CIS onset.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Time to CIS onset. The following were assessed: (1) whether women with previous pregnancies and childbirths had a delayed onset of CIS compared with those who had never been pregnant and those who had never given birth, and (2) whether a dose response existed, whereby a higher number of gravidity and parity was associated with a later onset of CIS.

Results: Of the 2557 women included in the study, the mean (SD) age at CIS onset was 31.5 (9.7) years. Of these women, before CIS onset, 1188 (46%) had at least 1 pregnancy and 1100 (43%) had at least 1 childbirth. The mean (SD) age at first pregnancy was 23.3 (4.5) years and at first childbirth was 23.8 (4.5) years. Women with previous pregnancies and childbirths had a later onset of CIS compared with those who had never been pregnant (HR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.62-0.75; P < .001), with a median delay of 3.3 (95% CI, 2.5-4.1) years. Women who had given birth also had a later CIS onset compared with women who had never given birth (HR 0.68; 95% CI, 0.61-0.75; P < .001), with a similar median delay of 3.4 (95% CI, 1.6-5.2) years. A higher gravidity and parity number was not associated with delay in CIS onset.

Conclusions And Relevance: This study suggests an association between previous pregnancies and childbirths and timing of CIS onset, but having more pregnancies or childbirths did not appear to be associated with a later CIS onset. Further studies are needed to help explain the mechanisms behind the associations between pregnancy and onset of multiple sclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.3324DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7490748PMC
September 2020

MSCOVID19: Using social media to achieve rapid dissemination of health information.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2020 Oct 24;45:102338. Epub 2020 Jun 24.

Alfred Health, Clinical Neurosciences, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neuroscience, Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne Australia.

Background And Objective: The global COVID-19 pandemic creates an obvious acute health care resourcing and response problem. The different timing of pandemic peak in geographically distinct locations creates a short window of response opportunity. Rapid dissemination of medical information from early affected areas to later ones is therefore crucial to optimise planning. Formulating the best system response for at-risk patient populations is especially complex. People with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) are exposed to long-term immunosuppressive disease modifying treatments (DMTs) and, in theory, could be at increased risk of contracting the virus and developing complications. Social media, such as Twitter, can provide a global platform to rapidly share information and individual experiences.

Methods And Results: This report summarizes the case experience of pwMS with COVID-19 infection in the first month of the pandemic as reported on Twitter using the #MSCOVID19 hashtag. 26 individual cases of COVID-19 in pwMS were reported from Europe and the United States of America. The cases involved a combination of relapsing and progressive MS phenotypes treated with a range of DMT (5 anti CD20 therapy, 4 cladribine, 4 fingolimod, 4 injectables, 3 alemtuzumab, 2 dimethyl fumarate, 2 untreated, 1 teriflunomide, 1 natalizumab). The cases shared present the earliest reported data on outcomes of COVID-19 infection in pwMS. Whilst limited, the cautiously reassuring nature of these early cases assisted in clinical management by allowing neurologists to continuously reassess their approach to DMT management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2020.102338DOI Listing
October 2020

Real-world effectiveness of cladribine for Australian patients with multiple sclerosis: An MSBase registry substudy.

Mult Scler 2021 03 12;27(3):465-474. Epub 2020 Jun 12.

CORe, Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia/Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Background/objective: Observational clinical data from cladribine-treated patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) were recorded in the Australian MS registry powered by the MSBase registry platform (5-year follow-up) and analysed to complement information from the pivotal cladribine clinical trials in MS.

Methods: A cohort of 90 cladribine-treated patients with follow-up data reported by treating physicians and recorded in the Australian MSBase registry (database lock February 2016) were examined. Clinical data included Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores, relapses and other disease-modifying drugs (DMDs) administered before and after cladribine treatment.

Results: Mean age on starting cladribine was 47 years; mean age at MS onset was 34 years, and median baseline EDSS score was 5.25. Disability trajectories in patients with sufficient follow-up suggested an overall increasing trend prior to cladribine treatment which was reduced during the 2-year post-treatment. Approximately 80% of patients were EDSS progression-free, 65% remained relapse-free after 2 years and median time to next DMD was 1.7 years.

Conclusion: These observational data suggest a disease-modifying effect in this cohort of relapsing MS patients characterised by older and more disabled patients. Since these data represent a single-arm cohort, clinical trials and larger comparative post-marketing studies are needed to validate and extend these findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458520921087DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7897790PMC
March 2021

Risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: A longitudinal study.

Mult Scler 2020 01 9;26(1):79-90. Epub 2019 Aug 9.

CORe, Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia/Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia/L4 Centre, Melbourne Brain Centre at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, VIC, Australia.

Background: The risk factors for conversion from relapsing-remitting to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis remain highly contested.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the demographic, clinical and paraclinical features that influence the risk of conversion to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Methods: Patients with adult-onset relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and at least four recorded disability scores were selected from MSBase, a global observational cohort. The risk of conversion to objectively defined secondary progressive multiple sclerosis was evaluated at multiple time points per patient using multivariable marginal Cox regression models. Sensitivity analyses were performed.

Results: A total of 15,717 patients were included in the primary analysis. Older age (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.02,  < 0.001), longer disease duration (HR = 1.01,  = 0.038), a higher Expanded Disability Status Scale score (HR = 1.30,  < 0.001), more rapid disability trajectory (HR = 2.82,  < 0.001) and greater number of relapses in the previous year (HR = 1.07,  = 0.010) were independently associated with an increased risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. Improving disability (HR = 0.62,  = 0.039) and disease-modifying therapy exposure (HR = 0.71,  = 0.007) were associated with a lower risk. Recent cerebral magnetic resonance imaging activity, evidence of spinal cord lesions and oligoclonal bands in the cerebrospinal fluid were not associated with the risk of conversion.

Conclusion: Risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis increases with age, duration of illness and worsening disability and decreases with improving disability. Therapy may delay the onset of secondary progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458519868990DOI Listing
January 2020

Cerebral hypomyelination associated with biallelic variants of FIG4.

Hum Mutat 2019 05 28;40(5):619-630. Epub 2019 Feb 28.

Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The lipid phosphatase gene FIG4 is responsible for Yunis-Varón syndrome and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease Type 4J, a peripheral neuropathy. We now describe four families with FIG4 variants and prominent abnormalities of central nervous system (CNS) white matter (leukoencephalopathy), with onset in early childhood, ranging from severe hypomyelination to mild undermyelination, in addition to peripheral neuropathy. Affected individuals inherited biallelic FIG4 variants from heterozygous parents. Cultured fibroblasts exhibit enlarged vacuoles characteristic of FIG4 dysfunction. Two unrelated families segregate the same G > A variant in the +1 position of intron 21 in the homozygous state in one family and compound heterozygous in the other. This mutation in the splice donor site of exon 21 results in read-through from exon 20 into intron 20 and truncation of the final 115 C-terminal amino acids of FIG4, with retention of partial function. The observed CNS white matter disorder in these families is consistent with the myelination defects in the FIG4 null mouse and the known role of FIG4 in oligodendrocyte maturation. The families described here the expanded clinical spectrum of FIG4 deficiency to include leukoencephalopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.23720DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6467804PMC
May 2019

Incidence of pregnancy and disease-modifying therapy exposure trends in women with multiple sclerosis: A contemporary cohort study.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2019 Feb 3;28:235-243. Epub 2019 Jan 3.

Department of Neuroscience, Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neurology, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Medicine (Royal Melbourne Hospital), University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: Exposure to disease-modifying therapy (DMT) during early pregnancy in women with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) may be increasing.

Objective: To retrospectively determine incidence of pregnancy, DMT exposure and pregnancy outcomes in women with RRMS.

Methods: We identified all women with RRMS aged 15-45 years in the MSBase Registry between 2005-2016. Annualised pregnancy incidence rates were calculated using Poisson regression models. DMT exposures and pregnancy outcomes were assessed.

Results: Of 9,098 women meeting inclusion criteria, 1,178 (13%) women recorded 1,521 pregnancies. The annualised incidence rate of pregnancy was 0.042 (95% CI 0.040, 0.045). A total of 635 (42%) reported pregnancies were conceived on DMT, increasing from 27% in 2006 to 62% in 2016. The median duration of DMT exposure during pregnancy was 30 days (IQR: 9, 50). There were a higher number of induced abortions on FDA pregnancy class C/D drugs compared with pregnancy class B and no DMT (p = 0.010); but no differences in spontaneous abortions, term or preterm births.

Conclusions: We report low pregnancy incidence rates, with increasing number of pregnancies conceived on DMT over the past 12-years. The median duration of DMT exposure in pregnancy was relatively short at one month.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2019.01.003DOI Listing
February 2019

Alemtuzumab in Multiple Sclerosis: Lessons from Social Media in Enhancing Patient Care.

Int J MS Care 2017 Nov-Dec;19(6):323-328

Background: Alemtuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that has been approved for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). Alemtuzumab is associated with infusion reactions and potential autoimmune complications. Patient education and understanding are crucial to favorable outcomes. Our objective was to observe communication on a peer-to-peer Facebook group for content, accuracy of posts, and number of "likes" per post and to compare shared themes to current approved prescribing information and educational modules.

Methods: We identified a Facebook group specific to alemtuzumab in MS. A 14-day window was observed. Posts were classified as "sharing" or "seeking information." Content analysis was used for information-seeking posts. Accuracy of replies was compared with product prescribing information.

Results: We reviewed 458 posts. Members contemplating receiving or currently receiving alemtuzumab primarily used Facebook for information gathering (54.6%), followed by seeking emotional support and sharing personal experiences (45.4%). Most shared experiences (83.6%) were positive. Themes for information were predominantly consistent with standard protocols. Complications discussed included infection (15.50%), bone pain (11.80%), immune thrombocytopenia (8.07%), and fatigue (7.46%). Accuracy of replies was consistent with product information except for immune thrombocytopenia.

Conclusions: Some patients with MS look to online groups for discussion, peer support, and information. Although written guidelines on the studied home page reinforce that online discussion "does not replace medical advice," inaccurate information does occur. Health-care providers' reviews of these online sites allow insight into the real-world experiences of patients receiving alemtuzumab, with potential for modification of educational approaches by health-care professionals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7224/1537-2073.2017-010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5734716PMC
December 2017

Assessing understanding of individual risk and symptoms of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in patients prescribed natalizumab for multiple sclerosis.

Intern Med J 2017 Feb;47(2):194-199

Neurology Department, Alfred Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Background: Natalizumab, a monoclonal antibody directed against α4 integrin, is a highly efficacious treatment commonly used in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. Natalizumab is associated with the potentially fatal, rare, demyelinating, opportunistic brain infection, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). Prognosis and disability from PML are determined by early diagnosis.

Aims: Written tools are mandated in Australia and other prescribing countries with the aim to help patients understand the risks associated with treatment and ensure familiarity with the early symptoms of PML. We aimed to assess if these tools achieve such an outcome.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a convenience sample of multiple sclerosis patients prescribed natalizumab presenting to the infusion centre at a major tertiary hospital. Patients were offered a multi-choice questionnaire to assess their knowledge on the treatment risks and surveillance requirements of their therapy. Three specific questions were highlighted by the researchers as crucial to patient understanding of PML and defined as basic knowledge.

Results: A total of 48 patients in our hospital was prescribed natalizumab; 37 responded. A total of 16 (43.2%) patients answered all three basic knowledge questions correctly. There was no difference in the ability to answer these questions based on length of treatment or co-ownership knowledge between patients with base knowledge and without.

Conclusion: Natalizumab is associated with an increased risk of PML. Early detection and treatment of PML results in improved patient outcomes. Patient knowledge and co-partnership in the utilisation of PML risk tools is relevant in ensuring early detection. Our findings question the ability of currently sanctioned tools to inform patients of basic knowledge of PML and their risk of developing PML. A future study with a repetitive education approach and repeating the questionnaire at multiple time points would be of interest.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/imj.13318DOI Listing
February 2017

Pancolitis a novel early complication of Alemtuzumab for MS treatment.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2016 May 30;7:83-4. Epub 2016 Mar 30.

Neurosciences, The Alfred, Melbourne, Victoria 3004, Australia. Electronic address:

The growing range of effective therapies for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) brings with it a wider range of possible complications requiring broader considerations and greater vigilance. Alemtuzumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody against CD52 that is highly effective in the treatment of RRMS and approved in many countries around the world. We describe a case presenting with a complication not previously seen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2016.03.014DOI Listing
May 2016

Contribution of different relapse phenotypes to disability in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2017 Feb 11;23(2):266-276. Epub 2016 Jul 11.

Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia/Department of Neurology, Melbourne Brain Centre at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, VIC, Australia.

Objective: This study evaluated the effect of relapse phenotype on disability accumulation in multiple sclerosis.

Methods: Analysis of prospectively collected data was conducted in 19,504 patients with relapse-onset multiple sclerosis and minimum 1-year prospective follow-up from the MSBase cohort study. Multivariable linear regression models assessed associations between relapse incidence, phenotype and changes in disability (quantified with Expanded Disability Status Scale and its Functional System scores). Sensitivity analyses were conducted.

Results: In 34,858 relapses recorded during 136,462 patient-years (median follow-up 5.9 years), higher relapse incidence was associated with greater disability accumulation (β = 0.16, p < 0.001). Relapses of all phenotypes promoted disability accumulation, with the most pronounced increase associated with pyramidal (β = 0.27 (0.25-0.29)), cerebellar (β = 0.35 (0.30-0.39)) and bowel/bladder (β = 0.42 (0.35-0.49)) phenotypes (mean (95% confidence interval)). Higher incidence of each relapse phenotype was associated with an increase in disability in the corresponding neurological domain, as well as anatomically related domains.

Conclusion: Relapses are associated with accumulation of neurological disability. Relapses in pyramidal, cerebellar and bowel/bladder systems have the greatest association with disability change. Therefore, prevention of these relapses is an important objective of disease-modifying therapy. The differential impact of relapse phenotypes on disability outcomes could influence management of treatment failure in multiple sclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458516643392DOI Listing
February 2017

Case report of multiple sclerosis diagnosis in an 82-year old male.

Mult Scler Relat Disord 2014 May 23;3(3):413-5. Epub 2013 Nov 23.

The Alfred Hospital, Commercial Road, Prahran, VIC 3181, Australia.

An 82-year old male, with no significant past medical history, presented with a subacute right foot drop in the setting of a 14-month history of generalised weakness, highly-responsive to steroids. Temporal artery and vastus lateralis biopsies were normal. Vasculitic screen and inflammatory markers were normal. Lumbar puncture revealed elevated cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) protein without oligoclonal bands. Visual evoked response (VER) was normal. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of his lumbar spine showed compression of exiting L5 nerve root. He had three cerebral MRI scans spaced over the 12 month period, which showed a progressive increase of T2 and fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) hyperintense lesions consistent with active demyelinating plaques. He was treated with intravenous methylprednisolone 1g daily for three days with a weaning regimen of oral prednisolone, resulting in a full return of power and a resolution of his right foot drop. He was diagnosed with late-onset multiple sclerosis (LOMS), and was treated with monthly natalizumab. A literature review of LOMS is discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2013.11.002DOI Listing
May 2014