BACKGROUND: Month-long daytime Ramadan fasting pose s major challenges to multiple sclerosis (MS) patients in Muslim countries. Physicians should have practical knowledge on the implications of fasting on MS. We present a summary of database searches (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, PubMed) and a mini-symposium on Ramadan fasting and MS. I
DISCUSSION: In general, fasting is possible for most stable patients. Appropriate amendment of drug regimens, careful monitoring of symptoms, as well as providing patients with available evidence on fasting and MS are important parts of management. Evidence from experimental studies suggests that calorie restriction before disease induction reduces inflammation and subsequent demyelination and attenuates disease severity. Fasting does not appear to have unfavorable effects on disease course in patients with mild disability (Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score <=3). Most experts believed that during fasting (especially in summer), some MS symptoms (fatigue, fatigue perception, dizziness, spasticity, cognitive problems, weakness, vision, balance, gait) might worsen but return to normal levels during feasting. There was a general consensus that fasting is not safe for patients: on high doses of anti-convulsants, anti-spastics, and corticosteroids; with coagulopathy or active disease; during attacks; with EDSS score >=7.
SUMMARY: These data suggest that MS patients should have tailored care. Fasting in MS patients is a challenge that is directly associated with the spiritual belief of the patient.