ADEM can occur in both adults and children, although it is more common in children. ADEM generally appears after a viral illness, or rarely after vaccination. The symptoms of ADEM can resemble an MS attack, although ADEM usually does not recur.
The initial treatment of ADEM often includes steroids and supportive care. Other immunomodulatory agents such as IVIG may be used in refractory cases.
The relationship between ADEM and MS is not well understood, and in approximately 5-10% of cases, patients with ADEM may develop MS, NMO-SD or other forms of recurrent disease later in life. There are some recurrent or multiphasic forms of ADEM, which in some cases can be difficult to distinguish from MS.