Treatment patterns of patients with multiple sclerosis in Guangzhou, China

Rui Li, Jingqi Wang, Jing Li, Yuge Wang, Haotian Wu, Ping Fan, Alexander Y. Lau, Allan G. Kermode, Wei Qiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background & Objective: Disease-modifying treatments (DMTs) for multiple sclerosis (MS) are widely used in Western countries. In China, however, the current treatment patterns of MS patients are not well characterized. This is to explore the gap between the current treatments in Guangzhou, Southern China and those given in Western countries. Methods: We performed a survey of MS patients at department of neurology, a tertiary MS referral centre in Guangzhou, concerning treatments of MS in Southern China. The clinical data in patients were collected. The initial treatment, drug withdrawal or switching profile, and therapeutic effect of existing treatments in MS patients were analyzed. Results: The ratio of MS patients who receive DMTs in Guangzhou China is extremely low. Among the 178 patients studied, only 28.09% received initial treatment with DMTs. MS patients who receive initial treatment with first-line DMTs have higher drug withdrawal rates (32.6%) and drug switching rates (30.43%) than those of western populations. The main reasons for withdrawal of first-line DMTs were doctor’s advice (maintenance of remission) (40.00%), economic burden(20.00%), and no channels to buy drugs(13.33%). In MS patients initially treated with first-line DMTs who switched to other drugs, a gap between treatments was common (8/14; 57.14%). There were 18 patients with highly active MS receiving treatment with rituximab. Annual relapse rate after treatment significantly decreased than that before treatment (0.74 vs. 1.50, P < 0.001). Conclusions: DMTs for MS in Guangzhou, Southern China appear to lag behind those in Western countries. Much work is needed to improve drug accessibility and affordability of DMTs in China. Rituximab is an option for highly active MS in limited medical-resource countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-182
Number of pages10
JournalNeurology Asia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


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