Multiple sclerosis (MS) constitutes one of the major diseases that leads to neurological impairment and as a consequence also reduces ability to work.
The purpose of this study was to analyze possible effects on work ability resulting from highly active anti-inflammatory treatment in MS.
We analyzed the effects of introducing an anti-inflammatory treatment, natalizumab, in MS, on factors related to work ability. This was done through a comprehensive questionnaire distributed to all patients in Sweden starting on natalizumab treatment between June 2007 and May 2008, identified via the Swedish National MS registry.
MS patients who were receiving sickness benefit and were treated with natalizumab approximately doubled their working ability in relation to their total employment rate. We also documented a significant improvement of their ability to cope with work-related requirements after one year of natalizumab treatment, an improvement which was independent of the previous level of employment. Predictors of a positive effect on work ability were short disease duration, younger age and lower Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) grade at treatment onset.
Our data support the notion that early inflammatory control in MS is essential to preserve a healthy state in MS that counteracts the negative consequences of the disease both at a personal and at a societal level.