Abstract Objective To evaluate the degree of severity and disability progression in Japanese patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) using descriptive study methods. Methods Postal questionnaires were sent to patients through three Japanese MS patients' associations. Survey participants were asked to evaluate their disability and MS severity based on two scales: the Patient Determined Disease Steps (PDDS) and the Short Form-8 Health Survey. Results A total of 789 MS patients were surveyed. Approximately 45% of patients had gait disability (PDDS score of 3) or higher. Patients with a higher age of MS onset had rapid progression of disease. The mean duration from first symptom of MS to treatment initiation was 4.5 years. The time to treatment initiation was longer for the younger onset group, ≤29 years-of-age, than that of the older onset group, ≥40 years-of-age (6.2 years vs 2.2 years, respectively). The PDDS showed two-stage disability progression: while progression time to a PDDS score of 2 varied, progression time from a PDDS score of 2 to a score of 4 was similar across the participants. Conclusions Based on the patient-reported disability progression of MS, we showed that the possibility of severity and MS disease progression between Japanese and Western countries might be similar. The PDDS could be a useful alternative to assess MS disability.
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