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Case Study: MS Relapses

A 56-year-old woman with MS calls the clinic to report symptoms. For the past three days she has had an increase in leg weakness.

Normally she can take several steps with a walker but now she only uses a wheelchair.

She has noted a discoloration and foul smell to her urine. She asks about the need for corticosteroids.

An examination in the clinic found the following:

  • Greater amount of weakness in the legs than prior exams
  • Urinalysis was positive for urinary tract infection

Due to the appearance of a urinary tract infection, and seeing no other obvious signs of an ongoing MS relapse, a course of antibiotics was ordered.

Within one week, the patient reported that the UTI was resolved, and her leg weakness and resulting mobility issues were back to her normal baseline.

This is a classic example of pseudo-relapse.

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