Objectives: Electromagnetic field therapy has been reported to be beneficial in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) with significant fatigue. This study was designed to evaluate the long-term effects of Bio-Electro-Magnetic-Energy-Regulation (BEMER) on MS-related fatigue.
Design: This was a monocenter, patient- and rater-blinded, placebo-controlled trial.
Patients: There were 37 relapsing-remitting patients with MS with significant fatigue in the study.
Intervention: The intervention consisted of BEMER magnetic field treatment for 8 minutes twice daily in comparison to placebo for 12 weeks.
Outcome measures: The primary outcome criterion was change in the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS) between baseline and 12 weeks. The secondary outcome criteria were changes of the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), a general depression scale-long version (ADS-L), Multiple Sclerosis Functional Scale (MSFC), and the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS).
Results: There was evidence of a significant difference of MFIS value (primary outcome criterion) after 12 weeks in favor of the verum group (26.84 versus 36.67; p = 0.024). In addition, FSS values were significantly lower in the verum group after 12 weeks (3.5 versus 4.7; p = 0.016). After 6 weeks' follow-up, verum and placebo groups did not differ in experienced fatigue (MFIS, FSS). Regarding the subscales of the MFIS, there was a significant decrease in physical (p = 0.018) and cognitive (p = 0.041), but not in psychologic subscales only in the verum group regarding the timepoints baseline and 12 weeks. BEMER therapy was well tolerated.
Discussion: In this pilot study, we were able to demonstrate a beneficial effect of BEMER intervention on MS fatigue. As this was only a pilot study, trials with more patients and longer duration are mandatory to describe long-term effects.