Treatment of autoimmunity: The impact of disease-modifying therapies in multiple sclerosis and comorbid autoimmune disorders

Autoimmun Rev. 2023 May;22(5):103312. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2023.103312. Epub 2023 Mar 15.


More than 10 disease-modifying therapies (DMT) are approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) and new therapeutic options are on the horizon. Due to different underlying therapeutic mechanisms, a more individualized selection of DMTs in MS is possible, taking into account the patient's current situation. Therefore, concomitant treatment of various comorbid conditions, including autoimmune mediated disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, should be considered in MS patients. Because the pathomechanisms of autoimmunity partially overlap, DMT could also treat concomitant inflammatory diseases and simplify the patient's treatment. In contrast, the exacerbation and even new occurrence of several autoimmune diseases have been reported as a result of immunomodulatory treatment of MS. To simplify treatment and avoid disease exacerbation, knowledge of the beneficial and adverse effects of DMT in other autoimmune disorders is critical. Therefore, we conducted a literature search and described the beneficial and adverse effects of approved and currently studied DMT in a large number of comorbid autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, inflammatory bowel diseases, cutaneous disorders including psoriasis, Sjögren´s syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic vasculitis, autoimmune hepatitis, and ocular autoimmune disorders. Our review aims to facilitate the selection of an appropriate DMT in patients with MS and comorbid autoimmune diseases.

Keywords: Multiple sclerosis; adverse effects; autoimmune disorders; beneficial effects; disease-modifying therapy; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid*
  • Autoimmune Diseases* / complications
  • Autoimmune Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Autoimmunity
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic*
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / drug therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / epidemiology