Study: online therapy program reduces MS patients' fatigue

By Dave Muoio
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A study recently published in the BMJ’s Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry found that a digital interactive therapy tool designed for multiple sclerosis patients, Gaia’s Elevida, was effective in reducing MS-related fatigue.

The randomized controlled trial included 275 participants with MS, and suggests that the intervention’s fatigue reduction effects could be sustained up to 12 weeks after the program’s conclusion.

“Interventions such as Elevida may be a suitable low barrier, cost-effective treatment option for MS fatigue,” the researchers, led by Dr. Stefan M. Gold of Charité University Medicine Berlin, wrote. “In patients with [MS], fatigue affects up to 70 percent of patients and more than three-quarters of these describe it as their most disabling problem.”

Developed based on cognitive behavioral therapy principles and other related psychotherapeutic approaches design for reducing MS fatigue, such as mindfulness, Elevida is an online, self-guided program. According to Gaia’s website, Elevida and other similar products are designed to simulate one-on-one coaching, training, or therapy sessions, and uses specific guided exercises to achieve therapeutic targets.

In the current study, the researchers recruited participants from the website of the German MS Society, and randomly assigned half to the 12-week Elevida intervention. Participants in both groups were primarily female, around a mean age of 41 years. The study’s primary outcome of interest were scores on the Chalder Fatigue Scale, determined at baseline, 12 weeks (program end), and 24 weeks (12 weeks post-intervention).

The researchers found significant reductions in fatigue scores within the intervention group at the end of the intervention program (p < .001). This effect continued 12 weeks after the conclusion of the online program (p < .01), suggesting that patients may remain better equipped to manage their MS fatigue following regular instruction through the program.

“GAIA understands the vast unmet medical needs in the MS community and we are dedicated to developing strong innovative solutions based on rigorous scientific evidence,” Dr. Mario Weiss, CEO, and founder of GAIA, said in a statement. “Only recently, deprexis MS, our product for the treatment of depression in people living with MS, was adopted across the United Arab Emirate’s health system. We believe Elevida can also help mitigate the suffering of many and improve health outcomes.”