In the management of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), providers are all faced with the highly formidable challenge of ascertaining whether, and to what degree, disease-modifying therapy is effective in the individual patient. While much has been learned in randomized, controlled clinical trials, we cannot simply extrapolate the outcomes of these initiatives and apply them to the care of a single patient. In the future, the application of pharmacogenetic techniques, proteomics, and microarray analysis will yield novel profiling information on individual patients that will substantially refine the specific therapeutic questions of relevance: (1) What is the best treatment for an individual patient? (2) Which patients require intensive therapeutic combination regimens to optimize control of the disease process? (3) What are the appropriate drug dosing targets for an individual patient? and (4) Which patients will be predisposed to the development of drug-related adverse events? Such data may provide a novel variable of drug responsiveness that will mandate its inclusion into the process of covariate analyses for clinical trials.
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