Giovannetti AM, Giordano A, Pietrolongo E, Confalonieri P, De Luca G, Tortorella C, Trojano M, Messmer Uccelli M, Torri Clerici V, Gitto L, Köpke S, Borreani C, Heesen C, Solari A2 ManTra project.

INTRODUCTION: 15 years after clinical onset, about 50% of patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis convert to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS). Notwithstanding the importance of this transition, knowledge of the experiences and needs of patients and carers is fragmentary, and targeted interventions are not available. Managing the Transition to SPMS (ManTra) is a mixed methodology project to develop and test a user-led resource for newly diagnosed patients with SPMS. Here, we describe the developmental phase, consisting of a literature review and a new research study involving key stakeholders, in which we construct the resource. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Round 1: The literature review and study will be conducted in parallel. The latter will identify patient needs using a qualitative approach consisting of: personal semistructured interviews with >15 recently diagnosed patients with SPMS; three focus group meetings (one with significant others of patients, one with neurologists and one with other health professionals caring for patients with SPMS). An online survey (>200 recently diagnosed Italian patients with SPMS) will follow to verify needs in a larger independent sample. An expert panel will outline a set of candidate resources/interventions that aim to satisfy the needs thus identified. Round 2: Consensus on the final resource will be obtained in a 1-day meeting of recently diagnosed patients with SPMS, significant others, health professionals and other stakeholders, using the nominal group technique. The expert panel will refine the resource, identify the outcome measures to assess its efficacy and ascertain the most suitable comparator (ManTra Phase 2, not part of this protocol). ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study protocol was approved by the ethics committees of each of the involved centres: Foundation IRCCS Neurological Institute C Besta, Milan ; G D’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara and the Aldo Moro University of Bari. The results will be published in peer-reviewed journals, presented at conferences and a lay summary sent to participants.

BMJ Open. 2017 Aug 23;7(8):e017254

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