Researchers from the Network of Pediatric MS Centers of Excellence established by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society have published new findings on multiple sclerosis (MS) in children and adolescents.
There is no disease-modifying therapy specifically approved for children who have MS, so gathering and sharing treatment experience is an important task of the centers. E. Ann Yeh, MD of the State University of New York, Buffalo and colleagues at all six centers reviewed the records of 258 children with MS who had been treated with disease-modifying therapies. Of these children, 144 (58%) stayed on their first therapy; 65 (25.2%) were switched to one other therapy, 29 (11.2%) were switched twice, and 20 (7.8%) were switched three times. Most switched to other first-line disease-modifying drugs such as interferons or glatiramer acetate. In 55 children (21.3%), however, treatments included corticosteroids, mitoxantrone, cyclophosphamide, natalizumab, or daclizumab. The investigators noted that Hispanic children were significantly more likely to experience “breakthrough” disease activity while receiving first-line disease-modifying therapies.
Over the past 5 years, the Pediatric Network has developed several resources to help parents and school personnel deal with the effects of cognitive problems on kids with MS. A key resource is the network’s handbook, “Students with MS & the Academic Setting: A Handbook for School Personnel.”