This guideline covers diagnosing and managing multiple sclerosis (MS) in people aged 18 and over. It aims to improve the quality of life for adults with multiple sclerosis by promoting symptom management, comprehensive reviews and effective relapse treatment.
MS affects approximately 100,000 people in the UK. It is the commonest cause of serious physical disability in adults of working age.
This guideline replaces NICE clinical guideline 8 (2003) and covers diagnosis, information and support, treatment of relapse and management of MS‑related symptoms. The guideline does not address all symptoms and problems associated with MS. Some areas are addressed in other NICE guidance for example urinary symptoms and swallowing, and these are referenced where appropriate. Many of the interventions used in a rehabilitation setting to alleviate symptoms such as tremor, weakness, cardiorespiratory fitness, sensory loss, visual problems (apart from oscillopsia), and secondary complications of immobility such as deconditioning and contractures have not been covered because these are beyond the scope of the guideline. Many of these problems are complex and need individual assessment and management strategies. These assessments and treatments need to be carried out by healthcare professionals with appropriate expertise in rehabilitation and MS.
The guideline does not address the use of disease‑modifying treatments; there are NICE technology appraisals about these treatments.
The guideline is aimed primarily at services provided in primary and secondary care. It does not map out a model of service delivery. Many people with MS may also attend specialised tertiary services, often established particularly to provide and monitor disease‑modifying therapies.
You can read the guideline on NICE's website.