Eaneff et al. – Patient perspectives on neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders: Data from the PatientsLikeMe online community

Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2017 Oct;17:116-122

by Eaneff S, Wang V, Hanger M, Levy M, Mealy MA, Brandt AU, Eek D, Ratchford JN, Nyberg F, Goodall J, Wicks P

BACKGROUND: Few studies have evaluated patient perspectives on neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and NMO spectrum disorder (NMOSD).
OBJECTIVE: Describe patient-reported clinical and treatment experience in NMOSD and compare disease characteristics of NMOSD with those of multiple sclerosis (MS).
METHODS: This retrospective, observational study included 522 members with NMO or NMOSD (hereafter collectively referred to as NMOSD) from PatientsLikeMe (PLM), an online patient community. Data describing member demographics, symptoms, and treatments were collected, analysed descriptively, and compared with data from PLM members with MS.
RESULTS: Fatigue, pain, and stiffness/spasticity were each rated as moderate to severe by more than half of NMOSD members, and 59% reported that their health limited the type of work or other activities they could perform all or most of the time. Overall, symptom severity and disability levels were comparable between NMOSD and MS members; however, NMOSD members were more likely than MS members to attribute disability to vision-related symptoms and were less likely to report moderate to severe cognitive and emotional symptoms, including brain fog, depressed or anxious mood, and emotional lability.
CONCLUSION: This analysis underscores the challenges of living with fatigue, pain, stiffness/spasticity, and visual difficulties, prevalent NMOSD symptoms among members of the PLM community.

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