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Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) go untreated for longer than they should, according to 86% of neurologists surveyed. In addition, four fifths of these neurologists think that a more aggressive approach is warranted in treating the early stages of relapsing forms of MS. The survey, conducted by International Communications Research, was compiled via the Internet between December 16 and 23, 2005. The purpose was to assess current trends in the diagnosis and treatment of MS.

Of the 201 neurologists polled, the majority indicated that they believe MS patients live, on average, 3 to 5 years with the disease before diagnosis and treatment. Of the respondents, however, 79% reported that brain and spinal magnetic resonance imaging may support the diagnosis of relapsing MS following the initial clinical attack. Also, 59% said that they would recommend beginning treatment with prescription medication following the first clinical attack suggesting MS. This course of treatment is in line with recently published scientific data.

The respondents chose interferonbeta medication as the top recommendation for disease-modifying therapy for both early (94%) and late (95%) stages of relapsing-remitting MS.The observation is in line with the findings of an American Academy of Neurology panel. The group observed that interferonbeta therapies have the strongest and most reliable evidence of effectiveness, and that high-dose, high-frequency interferon-beta seems more effective in battling MS, compared with low-dose, low-frequency interferon-beta.

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