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Toward a Shared-Care Model of Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis: Role of the Primary Care Practitioner

  • Jiwon Oh (a1), Marie-Sarah Gagné-Brosseau (a2), Melanie Guenette (a1), Catherine Larochelle (a3), François Lemieux (a4), Suresh Menon (a5), Sarah A. Morrow (a6), Laurence Poliquin-Lasnier (a7), Chantal Roy-Hewitson (a8), Carolina Rush (a1), Anne-Marie Trudelle (a9) and Paul S. Giacomini (a9)...

Abstract

The objective of this study was to develop a shared-care model to enable primary-care physicians to participate more fully in meeting the complex, multidisciplinary healthcare needs of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Design: The design consisted of development of consensus recommendations and a shared-care algorithm. Participants: A working group of 11 Canadian neurologists involved in the management of patients with MS were included in this study. Main message: The clinical management of patients with multiple sclerosis is increasing in complexity as new disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) become available, and ongoing safety monitoring is required. A shared-care model that includes primary care physicians is needed. Primary care physicians can assist in the early detection of MS of individuals presenting with neurological symptoms. Additional key roles for family physicians are health promotion, symptom management, and safety and relapse monitoring of DMT-treated patients. General principles of health promotion include counseling MS patients on maintaining a healthy lifestyle; performing standard screening measures; and identifying and treating comorbidities. Of particular importance are depression and anxiety, which occur in >20% of MS patients. Standard work-ups and treatments are needed for common MS-related symptoms, such as fatigue, pain, bladder dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, spasticity, and sleep disorders. Ongoing safety monitoring is required for patients receiving specific DMTs. Multiple sclerosis medications are generally contraindicated during pregnancy, and patients should be counseled to practice effective contraception. Conclusions: Multiple sclerosis is a complex, disabling illness, which, similar to other chronic diseases, requires ongoing multidisciplinary care to meet the evolving needs of patients throughout the clinical course. Family physicians can play an invaluable role in maintaining general health, managing MS-related symptoms and comorbidities, monitoring for treatment-related adverse effects and MS relapses, and coordinating allied health services to ensure continuity of care to meet the complex and evolving needs of MS patients through the disease course. RÉSUMÉ: Élaborer un modèle de soins partagés dans les cas de sclérose en plaques récurrente-rémittente. Objectif: Élaborer un modèle de soins partagés afin de permettre aux médecins de première ligne de mieux répondre aux besoins complexes et multidisciplinaires de patients atteints de la sclérose en plaques (SP). Conception : Recommandations résultant d’un consensus et élaboration d’un algorithme en matière de soins partagés. Participants : Un groupe de travail formé de onze neurologues canadiens impliqués dans la prise en charge de patients atteints de la SP. Message-clé : La prise en charge clinique de patients atteints de la SP est de plus en plus complexe dans la mesure où des médicaments modificateurs de l’évolution de la maladie (MMSP) deviennent accessibles et où un suivi permanent en matière de sécurité est nécessaire. Soulignons aussi qu’un modèle de soins partagés incluant les médecins de première ligne est nécessaire. Ces professionnels peuvent permettre un dépistage plus rapide de la SP chez des individus présentant des symptômes neurologiques. Ils peuvent aussi jouer un rôle de premier plan en matière de promotion de la santé, de soulagement des symptômes et de suivi de patients traités avec des MMSP en ce qui a trait à leur sécurité et à de possibles rechutes. Parmi les principes généraux de promotion de la santé, on peut inclure les suivants : offrir aux patients atteints de la SP des conseils leur permettant de maintenir de saines habitudes de vie ; adopter des mesures de dépistage standards ; identifier et traiter les comorbidités. À cet égard, l’anxiété et la dépression sont d’une importance particulière et sont fréquemment signalées (> 20 %) chez les patients atteints de SP. Des démarches d’investigation et des traitements standards sont nécessaires dans le cas des symptômes courants reliés à la SP, par exemple de la fatigue, des douleurs, une dysfonction vésicale, des dysfonctions sexuelles, de la spasticité et des troubles du sommeil. On l’a dit, un suivi permanent s’impose dans le cas de patients bénéficiant d’un traitement spécifique avec des MMSP. Les médicaments associés à la SP sont généralement contre-indiqués durant la grossesse de sorte qu’on devrait conseiller aux patients d’adopter des méthodes de contraception efficaces. Conclusions : La SP est une maladie complexe et invalidante qui, à l’instar d’autres maladies chroniques, exige des soins multidisciplinaires continus afin de répondre, en lien avec un tableau clinique précis, aux besoins en constante évolution des patients. Les médecins de première ligne peuvent jouer un rôle irremplaçable à plusieurs égards : dans le maintien d’une bonne santé ; le suivi et le soulagement des symptômes et des comorbidités reliés à la SP ; le suivi des rechutes et des effets indésirables associés aux traitements. N’oublions pas non plus la coordination des services paramédicaux afin d’assurer, durant l’évolution de la SP, une continuité des soins répondant aux besoins complexes et en constante évolution des patients atteints de cette maladie.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Jiwon Oh, Neurology, St. Michael’s Hospital, 30 Bond Street, Toronto, ON, M5B 1W8, Canada. Email: ohjiw@smh.ca

References

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Toward a Shared-Care Model of Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis: Role of the Primary Care Practitioner

  • Jiwon Oh (a1), Marie-Sarah Gagné-Brosseau (a2), Melanie Guenette (a1), Catherine Larochelle (a3), François Lemieux (a4), Suresh Menon (a5), Sarah A. Morrow (a6), Laurence Poliquin-Lasnier (a7), Chantal Roy-Hewitson (a8), Carolina Rush (a1), Anne-Marie Trudelle (a9) and Paul S. Giacomini (a9)...

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