Spotlight on Work Capacity

The European cost of illness survey looked in detail at the effects of cognitive difficulties and fatigue, as reported by patients, on productivity at work.


The analysis of more than 16,000 responses across 16 countries in Europe showed that the majority of working-age people with MS are actually not working.

Discover the key findings below.


of working age respondents with MS were gainfully employed or self-employed1


Adapted from Kobelt G, et al. 2019.

Many more people with MS were working part time or reduced hours (n=16,207)1
ms-chart dotted-line person person person person person

*All patients working. Percentage of patients of working age.

Adapted from Kobelt G, et al. 2019.

Find out how MS treatments can affect
disability progression

And among those who continue working, cognitive difficulties and fatigue are the main reasons for reduced productivity at work.1,2

Effect of MS on people who were working2
Click on a pill button to learn more about cognitive impairment in MS and how it is measured 70%
of respondents reported fatigue as a reason for reduced work productivity
of respondents reported cognitive difficulties as a reason for reduced work productivity
  • Fatigue
  • Cognitive difficulties

The negative impact on fatigue and cognition was evident, even in people with mild MS

Adapted from Kobelt G, et al. 2017.

Probability of working1
0% 0%

Adapted from Kobelt G, et al. 2019.

Date of preparation: April 2021.

1. Kobelt G, Langdon D, Jönsson L. The effect of self-assessed fatigue and subjective cognitive impairment on work capacity: The case of multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler. 2019;25(5):740-749.
2. Kobelt G, Thompson A, Berg J, et al. New insights into the burden and costs of multiple sclerosis in Europe. Mult Scler. 2017;23(8):1123-1136.