Publication Date



Multiple Sclerosis Journal


BACKGROUND: Clinical relapses are the defining feature of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), but relatively little is known about the time course of relapse recovery.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the time course of and patient factors associated with the speed and success of relapse recovery in people with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS).

METHODS: Using data from CombiRx, a large RRMS trial ( identifier NCT00211887), we measured the time to recovery from the first on-trial relapse. We used Kaplan-Meier survival analyses and Cox regression models to investigate the association of patient factors with the time to unconfirmed and confirmed relapse recovery.

RESULTS: CombiRx included 1008 participants. We investigated 240 relapses. Median time to relapse recovery was 111 days. Most recovery events took place within 1 year of relapse onset: 202 of 240 (84%) individuals recovered during follow-up, 161 of 202 (80%) by 180 days, and 189 of 202 (94%) by 365 days. Relapse severity was the only factor associated with relapse recovery.

CONCLUSION: Recovery from relapses takes place up to approximately 1 year after the event. Relapse severity, but no other patient factors, was associated with the speed of relapse recovery. Our findings inform clinical practice and trial design in RRMS.


Relapsing–remitting, steroids, treatment response, multiple sclerosis, clinical trial

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