FRIDAY, April 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Nearly one in five patients referred to a multiple sclerosis specialty center are misdiagnosed, according to a study published in the May issue of Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

Marwa Kaisey, M.D., from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues assessed the incidence of MS misdiagnosis in 241 new patients referred to two academic MS referral centers as well as factors associated with misdiagnosis.

The researchers found that of the 241 new patients referred with an established diagnosis of MS, 17 percent at Cedars-Sinai and 19 percent at the University of California, Los Angeles, had been misdiagnosed. Migraine (16 percent), radiologically isolated syndrome (9 percent), spondylopathy (7 percent), and neuropathy (7 percent) were the most common alternative diagnoses. Misdiagnosis was associated with clinical syndromes and radiographic findings atypical for MS. Approximately 110 patient-years of unnecessary MS disease-modifying therapy had been received in the misdiagnosed group.

“MS misdiagnosis is common; in our combined cohort, almost one in five patients who carried an established diagnosis of MS did not fulfill contemporary McDonald Criteria and had a more likely alternate diagnosis,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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