Objective: To assess clinical characteristics, distribution of disease-modifying treatments (DMTs), and neuropsychological symptoms in a large cohort of patients with early-stage MS.
Methods: The German National MS Cohort is a multicenter prospective longitudinal cohort study that has recruited DMT-naive patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) and relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) since 2010. We evaluated their baseline characteristics and the prevalence of neuropsychological symptoms.
Results: Of 1,124 patients, with a 2.2:1 female-to-male ratio and median age at onset of 31.71 years (interquartile range [IQR]: 26.06-40.33), 44.6% and 55.3% had CIS and RRMS, respectively. The median Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score at baseline was 1.5 (IQR: 1.0-2.0). A proportion of 67.8% of patients started DMT after a median time of 167.0 days (IQR 90.0-377.5) since the first manifestation. A total of 64.7% and 70.4% of the 762 patients receiving early DMT were classified as CIS and RRMS, respectively. Fatigue, depressive symptoms, and cognitive dysfunction were detected in 36.5%, 33.5%, and 14.7% of patients, respectively.
Conclusion: Baseline characteristics of this large cohort of patients with early, untreated MS corroborated with other cohorts. Most patients received early DMT within the first year after disease onset, irrespective of a CIS or RRMS diagnosis. Despite the low EDSS score, neuropsychological symptoms affected a relevant proportion of patients.