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A Targeted Literature Search and Phenomenological Review of Perspectives of People with Multiple Sclerosis and Healthcare Professionals of the Immunology of Disease-Modifying Therapies. Neurol Ther 2022 Sep;11(3):955-979



Pubmed ID


Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85130685380 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)


INTRODUCTION: The mechanisms of action of disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for multiple sclerosis (MS) are complex and involve an interplay of immune system components. People with MS (PwMS) may lack a clear understanding of the immunological pathways involved in MS and its treatment; effective communication between healthcare professionals (HCPs) and PwMS is needed to facilitate shared decision-making when discussing the disease and selecting DMTs and is particularly important in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) era.

METHODS: In this patient-authored two-part review, we performed a targeted literature search to assess the need for better communication between HCPs and PwMS regarding treatment selection, and also conducted a qualitative survey of four patient and care-partner authors to obtain insights regarding their understanding of and preferences for the treatment and management of MS.

RESULTS: Following a search of the Embase and MEDLINE databases using Ovid in June 2020, an analysis of 40 journal articles and conference abstracts relating to patient empowerment and decision-making in DMT selection for MS showed a preference for safety and efficacy of treatments, followed by autonomy and convenience of administration. A need for better communication between HCPs and PwMS during treatment selection to improve patient satisfaction was also identified. The open survey responses from the patient authors revealed a need for greater involvement in decision-making processes and desire for improved communication and information tools.

CONCLUSIONS: This targeted literature search and phenomenological review confirms PwMS preferences for empowered decision-making in disease management and treatment selection, to optimize independence, safety, and efficacy. It also identifies an unmet need for improved communication and information tools that convey MS information in a relatable manner. Furthermore, this review seeks to address this unmet need by providing plain language figures and descriptions of MS immune mechanisms that can be used to facilitate discussions between HCPs and PwMS.

Author List

Burtchell J, Clemmons D, Clemmons J, Sabutis T, Rosenberg A, Graves J, Sweeney ML, Kramer J, Ziehn M, Brown B, Weiss JL, Obeidat AZ


Ahmed Zayed Obeidat MD, PhD Associate Professor in the Neurology department at Medical College of Wisconsin