The majority of respondents living with generalized myasthenia gravis (MG) were not working, the results showed.
People with generalized myasthenia gravis (MG) experience effects on their ability to work and perform daily activities, and the level of impairment increases as disease severity increases, according to a new study.
The findings are based on surveys of more than 250 people with MG. They were presented at the recent American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting Boston.
MG is a chronic neuromuscular disease in which patients experience muscle fatigue and weakness. That weakness can have life-threatening consequences, such as affecting respiratory muscles. However, even the less severe symptoms of the disease can have life-altering effects.
In the new study, investigators sought to better understand the ways in which MG affects patients’ ability to work and go about their normal daily activities. To find out, they consulted a survey taken in 2020 by MG patients and their physicians. The respondents were located in the United States and 5 European countries. In addition to survey responses, patients’ demographic data, their MG Foundation of America severity classifications, and their Charlson Comorbidity Index scores were collected. A total of 257 people completed at least 1 question in the survey.
The respondents had an average age of 54.7 years and 52.9% were male. Nine in 10 respondents were White, the authors added.
Forty-six respondents (17.9%) were either students, homemakers, or unemployed. Of the remaining respondents, 106 were employed full time or part time, and 102 were either on long-term sick leave or retired. Most of the patients who reported working had class II MG (n = 76) compared with class III/IV MG (n = 30 respondents), or 47.5% vs 30.9%, respectively.
When asked how their disease affected their ability to work, the amount of work time missed due to their disease was similar among patients regardless of their MG severity. However, patients with class III/IV MG had a 14.3% higher impairment rate while working, compared with those with class II disease, and a 14.8% higher overall work impairment level. Those with more severe disease also had a 15.5% higher impairment level when doing daily activities.
Physicians said 29.9% of patients with class II MG who were employed had to change to a more sedentary job because of their disease. This rate was higher than the 19.2% of working patients with class III/IV disease who switched to more sedentary work.
Among patients who were unemployed, on sick leave, or retired, 31.0% of people with class II MG said they changed their employment status due to MG compared with 38.6% of nonworking people with class III/IV MG.
The authors noted that the survey’s responses were voluntary and not a representative sample of people with MG. They also said the structure of the survey was such that patients who regularly consulted with their physician were more likely to be included.
Still, they said the data show that MG is a significant limiting factor for many patients.
“Treatments that control symptoms of gMG, resulting in less severe disease, could have a positive impact on patients’ ability to work and carry out daily activities,” they concluded.
Pesa J, Choudhry Z, de Courcy J, et al. The impact of generalized myasthenia gravis severity on work and daily activities: a real world study. Presented at: 2023 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting; April 22-27, 2023; Boston, MA. Accessed May 19, 2023. https://www.aan.com/MSA/Public/Events/AbstractDetails/54444