Patients with optic neuritis (ON) are at an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), an illness that may result in physical dysfunction and short life expectancy. Information on the conversion rate to MS of patients with ON is essential in determining the impact of ON on the incidence of MS. Previous Taiwanese studies on the risk of MS in patients with ON were all hospital based, thereby limiting the generalizability of the findings. We aimed to estimate the risk of MS in patients with ON using a nationally representative sample. A cohort of 2,741 patients who sought outpatient care for ON in 2000 was identified from Taiwan's National Health Insurance claims. The control group consisted of 27,330 age-and sex-matched subjects randomly selected from all beneficiaries in 2000. The person-year approach with Poisson assumption was used to estimate the incidence rate of MS from 2000 to 2008. The relative risk of outpatient visit or hospitalization for MS was estimated using the Cox proportional hazard model. The incidence rates of MS in the ON and control groups were 25.6 and 0.4, respectively, per 10,000 personyears; these values represent a relative risk estimate of 30.84 (95% confidence interval: 14.48 to 65.73) after the potential confounders were considered. Female or younger patients with ON were associated with a significantly elevated risk of developing MS. This study found that Taiwanese patients with ON are at a substantially high relative risk of developing MS. In addition to patients with ON, female and younger people should also receive intensive neurological care to further reduce their risk of developing MS.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)