Comorbidities in Multiple Sclerosis: A Clinical Resource Guide

Release date: February 15, 2018
Valid through: February 15, 2020

Earn 1.5 continuing education credits!


Comorbidity is an area of increasing interest in MS and evidence has suggested comorbidity is associated with diagnostic delays, misinterpretation of relapses, disability progression, health-related quality of life, and progression of lesion burden on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In chronic diseases, it has been shown that comorbidities can affect multiple aspects of treatment.

The aim of this resource guide is to help clinicians recognize and differentiate comorbidities from MS symptoms, understand the impact of comorbidities on individuals, make decisions about treatment in the setting of comorbidities, and manage comorbidities in collaboration with other health care professionals. The general prevalence and impact of comorbidities in MS will be reviewed, with the greatest focus on psychiatric, vascular/metabolic, and autoimmune comorbidities. Conditions defined as comorbidities in this document are those that are chronic in nature and that originate by a mechanism that is distinct from the underlying MS.

The guide also includes a list of resources and useful websites.

Jointly provided by The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) and Catamount Medical Education.

This activity is supported by an educational grant received from Sanofi Genzyme.

Target Audience

This activity is intended for neurologists, nursing professionals, PAs, rehabilitation professionals, mental health specialists, case workers, and other clinicians involved in the management of patients with MS.

Learning Objectives

Upon completing this activity, the participant should be better able to:

  • List comorbidities commonly occurring in patients with MS
  • Review the impact of comorbidities on initiating disease modifying therapy (DMT) for MS patients
  • Identify symptoms of common comorbidities that may mimic symptoms of MS or MS relapse
  • Apply strategies to diagnose comorbidities in MS patients
  • Employ best practices for involving other members of the health care team or referrals if appropriate when managing comorbidities
  • Review optimal treatment approaches to comorbidities in MS patients
  • Employ best practices to engage patients in shared decision making regarding the management of their comorbidities and MS care


Ruth Ann Marrie, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Professor of Medicine & Community Health Sciences

Director Multiple Sclerosis Clinic

Max Rady College of Medicine, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences

University of Manitoba

Winnipeg, MB

About Me

The Continuing Medical Education Program is an integral part of the organization’s overall mission which aims to improve learners’ competence and performance‐in‐practice and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

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