MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS JOURNAL, vol.16, no.10, pp.1258-1267, 2010 (SCI-Expanded)
About 3-5% of all patients with multiple sclerosis experience the onset of their disease under the age of 16. A significant proportion of paediatric multiple sclerosis patients develop significant cognitive disturbances and persistent physical disability. The high relapse rate and the morbidity in the paediatric multiple sclerosis population has triggered the use of disease-modifying therapies that have been shown to reduce relapse rate, disease progression and cognitive decline in adult patients with multiple sclerosis. Hard evidence for the right treatment and its appropriate timing is scarce in paediatric multiple sclerosis. Nevertheless, expertise in this field has grown thanks to recent open-label trials and experience generated in specialized centres. In spring 2009, a first meeting was held in Rotterdam with clinicians from 11 European countries (one from Canada) that are all active in the management of paediatric multiple sclerosis. One of the aims was to generate a common view on the management of paediatric multiple sclerosis patients. The result of this meeting is presented here to help standardize treatment and to support clinicians with less experience in this field.