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Symptom Management and Improving Quality of Life in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Julie A Gurwell, PhD, PA-C, and Joseph R Berger, MD

Quality of life (QoL) can be defined as the general wellbeing of an individual. Health-related QoL (HRQoL) encompasses the impact of disease on QoL as perceived by the patient. Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities. All of these entities can contribute to defining their QoL. A reduced QoL in MS interferes with a person’s ability to work, pursue leisure activities, and carry on usual life roles, contributing to direct and indirect economic burdens [1]. A poor QoL may affect medication adherence and disability [1]. Several tools are available for measuring QoL in patients with MS; these have evolved over time, often from generic questionnaires modified to address impairments in MS. Examples of common tools that are used in MS populations, often in clinical trials, include the Sickness Impact Profile, Medical Outcome Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), EuroQoL (EQ-5D), MS QoL-54 (MSQoL-54), Functional Assessment of MS (FAMS), MS Impact Scale (MSIS-29), and the MS QoL Inventory (MSQLI) [2–5]. These assessments measure a variety of outcomes including, but not limited to, cognition, sexual function, fatigue, mobility, mental health, sphincter dysfunction, and visual function. Further details of the abovementioned tools can be found in previous reviews [2,3,5].

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