Purpose: There is increasing recognition that the global wellbeing of patients with chronic neurological disease is an important outcome in research and clinical practice alike. Many studies involving individuals with multiple sclerosis have demonstrated that the overall wellbeing is not a simple manifestation of impairment or disability. The strongest correlations with health-related quality of life appear to be patient rated emotional adjustment to illness and patient rated handicap. In recent years, health-related quality of life questionnaires that measure the physical, social, emotional, and occupational impact of illness have been developed and validated in populations with MS. Most questionnaires are now available in a range of languages. This development is likely to lead to increasing recognition of neuropsychiatric complications of MS in clinical practice and better quantification of treatment responses in clinical trials.
Conclusion: Further work is required to decide which scale is most suited to which purpose. Assessment of multiple sclerosis-specific health-related quality of life should be included in future clinical trials to provide a complete picture of patients' health status.