Comorbidities in Multiple Sclerosis-A Plea for Interdisciplinary Collaboration to Improve the Quality of Life of MS Patients

Degener Neurol Neuromuscul Dis. 2019 Jun 13;9:39-53. doi: 10.2147/DNND.S204555. eCollection 2019.


The negative influence of comorbidities on the quality of life of people with multiple sclerosis is evident and the problem is increasingly acknowledged by numerous international studies in long-term care. One therapeutic option would be an add-on therapy with vitamin D (VD), with the aim of achieving a therapeutically effective dose. The individually required VD dose must be tested, since the response to a certain dose is subject to variations between individuals. A possible toxicity with increased 1.25(OH)D3 (active VD metabolite) is largely prevented by increased activity of 24-hydroxylase (CYP24A1). Monitoring of serum VD levels as well as serum calcium and phosphate levels (optional Ca excretion in 24-hour urine, Ca creatinine ratio in urine) provides safety and is necessary because possible mutations on the (catabolic) CYP24A1 gene can lead to a partial or total loss of 24-hydroxylase activity and provoke hypercalcemia/hyperphosphatemia. The main therapeutic objective is to maintain functional and social independence by using drugs with a high safety profile. The prevention and optimal management of comorbidities can influence the quality of life of patients with MS (PwMS) when included in patient care. Adequate measures can reduce the burden of MS only if the risk of comorbidity is reduced through targeted monitoring, early detection and diagnosis. Such a strategy will contribute to influencing the premature mortality of patients with MS. If VD is recognized as a "multipurpose steroid hormone", it could also be used to maintain cognitive function and prevent premature possible dementia, especially as there is evidence that VD deficiency correlates with brain atrophy (hippocampus). At present, MS therapy is still a balancing act between therapeutically efficient action and the management of unexpected side effects, with VD add-on therapy being almost unproblematic and most likely to be accepted by PwMS.

Keywords: comorbidities in multiple sclerosis; improving quality of life; pregnancy in MS; vitamin D therapy.