Prevalence of cutaneous adverse events associated with long-term disease-modifying therapy and their impact on health-related quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis: a cross-sectional study

Deepak M. W. Balak*, Gerald J. D. Hengstman, Enes Hajdarbegovic, Rob J. P. van den Brule, Raymond M. M. Hupperts, Hok Bing Thio

*Corresponding author for this work

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Glatiramer acetate (GA) and interferon-beta (IFN-?) are disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for multiple sclerosis that are administered through subcutaneous (SC) or intramuscular (IM) injections. Skin reactions associated with DMTs are common and may influence patient's health-related quality of life (QoL). We aimed to determine the prevalence of cutaneous adverse events associated with long-term DMT use, and to assess the impact of cutaneous adverse events on QoL.A cross-sectional study among patients with multiple sclerosis who had been treated with their first DMT for at least 2 years. Cutaneous events were assessed from photographs of injection-sites by dermatologists blinded for DMT. Generic and dermatology-specific health-related QoL were assessed using validated patient-reported questionnaires.A total of 229 patients were enrolled, of whom 156 (68%) had at least one skin reaction. The prevalence of cutaneous adverse events was higher for SC DMTs (75-82%) compared to IM DMT (41%) (P <0.001). Erythema and lipoatrophy were the most common skin reactions, observed in 156 (68%) and 45 (20%) patients, respectively. Dermatology-specific, but not generic, QoL was significantly lower among patients with skin reactions compared to those without.The prevalence of cutaneous adverse events was high in long-term DMT-treatment. Patients with cutaneous adverse events had a lower perceived dermatology-specific QoL.
Original languageEnglish
Article number146
JournalBMC Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2013


  • Skin reactions
  • MS
  • Quality of life
  • Glatiramer acetate
  • Interferon-beta
  • Injections

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