Multiple sclerosis: social and economic implications.

April Machado, Francisco Valente, Mariana Reis, Pedro Saraiva, Rita Silva, Rosa Martins, Simão Cruz, Tiago Rodrigues


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the most common demyelinating disease of the Central Nervous System. It is more frequently diagnosed in young individuals between 20 and 40 years old. MS is the leading non-traumatic cause for disability in young adults in western countries. Portuguese prevalence of the disease is about 50 per 100,000 inhabitants, which means that there are around 5,000 people with MS in Portugal. Our goal was to determine social and economic implications of MS through the description of patient's quality of life and economic difficulties, and to assess the dividend spent by the National Health System (NHS) with this disease. The studied population consisted of 50 individuals with MS in any stage of the disease to whom no exclusion criteria were used. The following questionnaires were applied: Multiple Sclerosis: Socio-Economic Implications and MS and Quality of Life (MSQoL-54). For data processing purposes we used SPSS v.16 and Microsoft Excel 2003. The confidence interval was 95%. In addition we based the cost calculations on K and C constants (official values from 2002). The results obtained were similar to those described in literature in what concerns the clinical presentation and the onset of the disease. Social implications evaluated by MSQoL revealed the majority of the inquiries had a score above 50 (n = 31). In what concerns economic implications the value of 40 843 250 euro was obtained as the mínimum spent by NHS. This number probably represents an under-valorization of the real value since only the direct costs were analyzed. It is necessary that new studies especially with bigger study populations can determine precisely the economic impact of MS in the Portuguese society.

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