Featured image of a woman on a bench illustrating how SPMS risk is declining

SPMS risk is declining

The risk of transitioning to secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) has decreased in recent years for individuals who experienced an earlier onset of the disease, according to an analysis of data from the Swedish MS Registry.

Additionally, this transition is now taking place at a later stage in life and for those who have lived with multiple sclerosis (MS) for a more extended period, with the most significant change observed in those who were younger when they initially developed the disease.

Researchers looked at incident rate every year from 2005 to 2020.

Elena Flavia Mouresan, PhD, presented these findings during an oral session at the recent European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) and the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) meeting, held in Milan, Italy, and virtually.

Mouresan, a research specialist at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, noted, “Improved disease modification is likely a contributing factor in delaying the transition to SPMS, underscoring the long-term advantages of disease-modifying therapies (DMTs). These results emphasize the significance of early DMT intervention and strategies for earlier diagnosis.”

Approximately 85% of MS patients initially receive a diagnosis of relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), characterized by periodic symptom exacerbations interspersed with periods of symptom remission and stability. Over time, some of these patients progress to a course of SPMS, where symptoms gradually accumulate even without relapses.

In the absence of treatment, it was previously estimated that around half of RRMS patients would transition to SPMS within a decade of diagnosis. However, due to the increasing availability of DMTs, fewer RRMS patients are now undergoing this transition, and it is occurring at a later stage in the disease’s progression.