natural history

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The progression of multiple sclerosis may follow one of four clinical patterns:

  • benign form:
    • characterised by abrupt onset, good remission and a long latent period before the next presentation
    • this intermittent pattern is seen in about 55% of cases of MS

  • relapsing with accumulating disability:
    • is seen in about 25% of patients

  • slowly progressive form with no relapse or remission:
    • is seen in about 5% of cases
    • is more common in older age groups

  • acute or primary progressive form:
    • characterised by explosive onset, and possibly death within months
    • it is seen in about 15% of cases

Last reviewed 11/2020