Feature Article

Multiple sclerosis: the role of the GP in diagnosis and lifetime care

JUSTIN Y. GARBER, HEIDI N. BEADNALL, MICHAEL H. BARNETT

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© MICHELE GRAHAM
© MICHELE GRAHAM

Abstract

The diagnosis and management of multiple sclerosis (MS) are rapidly evolving areas. Although patients with MS are best managed by a multidisciplinary team, GPs have a pivotal role in their diagnosis and co-ordinating their management.

Key Points

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the leading cause of nontraumatic neurological disability in young Australians.
  • The presentation of MS is clinically heterogeneous.
  • The diagnosis of MS continues to depend on proving dissemination of pathology in time and space.
  • MRI has become increasingly important to both diagnosing and managing patients with MS.
  • Multiple disease-modifying therapies are available in Australia for the treatment of relapsing-remitting MS, with different modes of action, efficacy, side effects and monitoring requirements.
  • Symptomatic management is important in all forms of MS to treat residual neurological deficits.

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© MICHELE GRAHAM
© MICHELE GRAHAM