MS or NMOSD MS or NMOSD

Knowing the difference could make all the difference

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MS AND NMOSD?

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) are both autoimmune diseases that affect the central nervous system. MS and NMOSD can have similar symptoms, but NMOSD is far less common.

NMOSD is a rare autoimmune disease characterized by unpredictable relapses that can result in various disabilities, including blindness or paralysis, and some relapses can even lead to premature death.

43%

In a study of patients with NMOSD, almost 43% were initially misdiagnosed with MS.*

73%

73% of patients with NMOSD test positive for anti-aquaporin-4 (AQP4) antibodies. These antibodies are not present in a patient with MS.

*The wrong diagnosis of MS became less common after AQP4 antibody testing became commercially available in 2005 (20% vs 54.2% before 2005).

SHOW ME SOME OF THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF:

  • Vision changes
  • Blindness
  • Spasms
  • Limb weakness
  • Numbness
  • Pain

SHOW ME SOME OF THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF:

  • Fatigue
  • Paralysis
  • Loss of bowel/ bladder function
  • Hiccups
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
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IT’S CRUCIAL YOU RECEIVE THE CORRECT DIAGNOSIS SO THAT YOUR DOCTOR CAN TREAT IT PROPERLY

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NMOSD relapses can have devastating, permanent consequences, including the potential for:

  • Blindness
  • Paralysis
  • Some relapses can lead to premature death

Talk to your doctor to see what you can do to help reduce the risk of NMOSD relapses.

I’d suspected something wasn’t right with my MS diagnosis for some time, but getting confirmation that my gut feeling was right all along was still hard to believe. I was told that I am lucky to be alive and as able-bodied as I still am.”

— Patient with NMOSD (name withheld by request)

YOUR PATH TO DIAGNOSIS

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TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR

Get these helpful tips for talking to your doctor and bring them to your next appointment.

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GET A BLOOD ANTIBODY TEST

A simple blood test for anti-AQP4 antibodies associated with NMOSD is a crucial part of an accurate diagnosis.

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DISCUSS MANAGEMENT OPTIONS

Getting a proper diagnosis as soon as possible is essential to help reduce the risk of further relapses.

In addition to a blood antibody test, a doctor’s diagnosis of NMOSD is based on a patient’s medical history, physical exam, and a variety of specialized tests. Some of these tests may include an examination of cerebrospinal fluid, spinal taps, magnetic resonance imaging, or computed tomography scans.

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NMOSD Doctor Discussion Guide

DOWNLOAD YOUR NMOSD DISCUSSION GUIDE

This short guide may help in discussions with your doctor about the goals of managing NMOSD.

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INTERESTED IN ATTENDING AN EVENT?

Alexion sponsors live or virtual events for people living with NMOSD throughout the year. Find an event near you below.

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