Background: Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have higher rates of fatigue, mood disturbance, and cognitive impairments than healthy populations. Disease-modifying agents may affect sleep. Although patients taking natalizumab often show improvement in fatigue during the first year of therapy, the mechanism behind this effect is unknown. The aim of the NAPS-MS study was to investigate whether natalizumab affected objective measures of sleep as determined by polysomnography (PSG) and multiple sleep latency testing (MSLT) in patients with MS with fatigue or sleepiness initiating therapy. Additional goals were to evaluate changes in measures of fatigue, mood, and cognition and to correlate these measures with objective sleep measures.
Methods: Patients underwent PSG and MSLT before their first natalizumab infusion and after their seventh. Patients completed the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale, Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), and visual analogue scale for fatigue (VAS-F) at their first, fourth, and seventh natalizumab infusions. NeuroTrax cognitive tests and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) were performed at the first and seventh natalizumab infusions.
Results: Changes in sleep efficiency, wakefulness after sleep onset, and multiple sleep latency from baseline to 6 months of therapy did not reach significance. The FSS, VAS-F, ESS, and HADS scores were significantly improved after 6 months of therapy; cognitive scores were not significantly improved.
Conclusions: Although treatment with natalizumab was associated with improvements in fatigue, sleepiness, and mood, changes in objective measures of sleep were not significant.