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Pain in neuromyelitis optica and its effect on quality of life

Pain in neuromyelitis optica and its effect on quality of life

A cross-sectional study

  1. Y. Kanamori, PhD,
  2. I. Nakashima, MD, PhD,
  3. Y. Takai, MD,
  4. S. Nishiyama, MD,
  5. H. Kuroda, MD, PhD,
  6. T. Takahashi, MD, PhD,
  7. C. Kanaoka-Suzuki, MD,
  8. T. Misu, MD, PhD,
  9. K. Fujihara, MD, PhD and
  10. Y. Itoyama, MD, PhD

+ Author Affiliations

  1. From the Department of Neurology (Y.K., I.N., Y.T., S.N., H.K., T.T., C.K.-S., T.M., K.F., Y.I.), Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai; Tohoku University Hospital Emergency Center (H.K.), Sendai; Department of Neurology (T.T.), National Yonezawa Hospital, Yonezawa; Department of Multiple Sclerosis Therapeutics (T.M., K.F.), Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai; and National Center Hospital (Y.I.), National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Kodaira, Japan.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Ichiro Nakashima, Department of Neurology, Tohoku University School of Medicine, 1-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8574,


Objective: To assess the features of pain and its impact on the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in neuromyelitis optica (NMO).

Methods: We analyzed 37 patients with NMO or NMO spectrum disorders seen at the Department of Neurology, Tohoku University Hospital, Sendai, Japan, during the period from November 2008 to February 2009. A total of 35 of them were aquaporin-4 antibody-positive. We used Short Form Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) to assess pain and Short Form 36-item (SF-36) health survey to evaluate the HRQOL. Fifty-one patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) were also studied for comparison.

Results: Pain in NMO (83.8%) was far more common than in MS (47.1%). The Pain Severity Index score in BPI was significantly higher in NMO than in MS, and patients’ daily life assessed by BPI was highly interfered by pain in NMO as compared with MS. Pain involving the trunk and both legs was much more frequent in NMO than in MS. SF-36 scores in NMO were lower than MS, especially in bodily pain.

Conclusion: Our study showed that pain in NMO is more frequent and severe than in MS and that pain has a grave impact on NMO patients’ daily life and HRQOL. Therapy to relieve pain is expected to improve their HRQOL.

  • Received January 25, 2011.
  • Accepted April 20, 2011.
  • Copyright 2011 by AAN Enterprises, Inc.

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