Association of British Neurologists: revised (2015) guidelines for prescribing disease-modifying treatments in multiple sclerosis

Neil Scolding*, David Barnes, Sarah Cader, Jeremy Chataway, Abhijit Chaudhuri, Alasdair Coles, Gavin Giovannoni, David Miller, Waqar Rashid, Klaus Schmierer, Abdullah Shehu, Eli Silber, Carolyn Young, John Zajicek

*Corresponding author for this work

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In June 1999, the Association of British Neurologists (ABN) first published guidelines for the use of the licensed multiple sclerosis (MS) disease-modifying treatments (at that time β-interferon and glatiramer acetate). The guidelines were revised in 2001 and have been periodically updated since then. In 2002, following the negative assessment of these treatments by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the MS risk-sharing scheme started, in which patients eligible according to the 2001 ABN guidelines were provided with treatment funded through the UK National Health Service (NHS), and monitored annually for up to 10 years.1 Recruitment to the risk-sharing scheme cohort is complete. Pending a future final evaluation, the UK Department of Health's instruction to NHS funders remains in place: that patients who fulfil the ABN criteria should continue to receive treatment funded through the NHS. The British neurological community has fully accepted the risk-sharing scheme for prescribing β-interferon and glatiramer acetate. Approximately 70 ‘treating centres’ have recruited >5000 patients between 2002 and 2005, and these have been monitored annually for 10 years; many more patients have received these treatments since 2005. The ABN published revised guidelines in 2007, and then again in 2009, following the licensing of natalizumab and mitoxantrone. This 2015 revised guideline replaces former versions. It includes all newly approved or licensed treatments for MS and represents a consensus concerning their use. These guidelines will require future revision as other treatments receive approval (eg, daclizumab and ocrelizumab): we suggest they are reviewed after an interval of no longer than 12 months. The guideline is not intended to provide a complete description of the possible complications and monitoring of disease-modifying treatments in MS; we refer prescribing neurologists to the relevant summaries of product characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-279
Number of pages7
JournalPractical Neurology
Issue number4
Early online date22 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • Disease Management
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Great Britain
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Physicians


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