Background Multiple sclerosis (MS) often causes a reduced ability to work. Improved disease control as well as adjustment of working conditions may improve work ability in MS.
Objectives The objective of this article is to compare the degree of sickness absence in two MS populations that either have or have not received disease-modifying drug (DMD) treatments or active work-promoting measures.
Methods We investigated the occurrence of sickness absence in MS patients living in Västerbotten County, Sweden, in 2013, in which the majority of MS patients receive DMD treatment. The result was compared with a previous survey in the same area during a period when no DMD was available and no work-promoting measures for MS patients were practiced.
Results The proportion of MS patients active in the labor market or studying increased from 38% to 70% in the contemporary compared with the historic population (p < 0.001). The proportion of MS patients with a full-time disability pension decreased from 27% to 12% (p < 0.001). There was a significant decrease of sickness absence in several individual EDSS grades.
Conclusions Our data indicate that treatment with DMDs combined with active work-promoting measures lead to improved work ability in MS.
2015. Vol. 1