Providing Disease-Modifying Therapies for Multiple Sclerosis Patients

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This leaflet explains our policy on disease-modifying drugs for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This leaflet explains who is entitled to treatment. It provides details of how the policy works and tells you where else you can get further help and advice.

Who is entitled to treatment?
• Patients with relapsing remitting MS
• Patients with secondary progressive MS who also have relapses

Patients may be entitled to National Health Service Treatment (NHS) if they meet the following criteria.

What are the criteria for patients with relapsing-remitting MS?
Patients should:
• Be able to walk at least 100 metres without aid and without resting;
• Have had at least two clinically significant relapses in the last two years;
• Be taking adequate contraception and have no plans to get pregnant
• Be aged 18 or over.

What are the criteria for patients with secondary progressive MS?
Patients should:
• Be able to walk at least 10 metres without resting, with or without aid;
• Have had at least two disabling relapses in the last two years;
• Have had minimal increase in disability due to gradual progression over the last two years;
• Be taking adequate contraception and have no plans to get pregnant
• Be aged 18 or over

What is the process for getting prescriptions?
Patients will have to be assessed locally by a Neurologist to check whether they meet the criteria and that they are likely to benefit using the drugs. Most patients entitled under the scheme will already be under the care of a Neurologist who will be able to discuss treatments with them. If they are not under the care of a Neurologist, then their GP will be able to refer them to the local NHS Neurology Service for a first screen, if necessary. If, after the first screen patients meet the criteria, they will then be referred for further assessment to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.

What happens to patients who are referred to Oxford?
You will be seen in the regional disease modifying treatment clinic with your local MS nurse in attendance.

The doctor will assess:
• Your medical history and the referral information from the Neurologist.
• Your physical ability
• Whether treatment is appropriate
• Your blood results

The doctor or your MS nurse will discuss the options for treatment with you and give supporting information for you to take away. This will help you to take an informed decision on whether you wish to proceed with treatment and if so what type of treatment from the options available to you.

Will patients be monitored?
All patients meeting the criteria will be thoroughly assessed and their progress will be monitored regularly. This may involve regular blood tests at your local GP practice. This is to make sure treatment is only prescribed to those patients for whom the drugs are shown to be helping. The Department of Health has set up a monitoring study to assess the long-term benefits of these
treatments and patients will be told about this when seen in the clinic. If we find that the therapy is not working for you, or has unwanted side-effects, we may have to stop treatment.

Further information:
Multiple Sclerosis Society MK Branch
Tinkers Bridge Meeting Place, Marshworth,
Tinkers Bridge, MK6 3DD
01908 239151

Multiple Sclerosis Society
MS National Centre
372 Edgeware Road Cricklewood
London NW2 6ND
020 8438 0700

Multiple Sclerosis Trust
MS Trust Spirella Building
Bridge Road Letchworth Garden City SG6 4ET
01462 476700

Based on Patient Information Leaflet produced by Berkshire, Oxfordshire, and Buckinghamshire Primary Care Trusts.