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Adherence to oral treatments for MS is poor



Over 2 years of follow-up, approximately one-third of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have a lapse in oral therapy of 30 days or longer, and approximately half discontinue their index oral therapy, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers. These results indicate “poor adherence to currently available oral medications” and “may imply a need for treatments with dosing regimens that facilitate adherence,” said Jacqueline Nicholas, MD, MPH, a clinical neuroimmunologist at the Ohio MS Center in Columbus, and colleagues.

Research has found that lapses in MS treatment regimens and discontinuation of disease-modifying therapy are associated with an increased likelihood of relapse. Few studies, however, have examined lapses in oral therapy and discontinuation of oral treatments in patients with MS. To address this gap, Dr. Nicholas and colleagues conducted a retrospective administrative claims study using data from the IQVIA RWD Adjudicated Claims – USA database.

The researchers examined claims filed between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2017. Eligible participants were aged 18-63 years and had two or more MS diagnosis claims (i.e., ICD-9-CM code: 340.xx and ICD-10-CM code: G35) between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2015. Participants also had one or more once- or twice-daily oral disease-modifying drug (DMD) claims between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2015; continuous eligibility with commercial insurance for 1 year before (i.e., baseline) and 2 years after (i.e., follow-up) oral DMD initiation; and no oral DMD use during baseline.

The investigators defined the longest lapse in therapy as the number of days between the lapsing of the supply of the prior prescription and the fulfillment of a new prescription (i.e., the period during which no DMD was available, based on medical or pharmacy claims). Discontinuation was defined as cessation of the oral DMD for a minimum of 60 days without reinitiation (i.e., discontinuing treatment or switching therapy).

In all, 4,193 patients met the eligibility criteria. The population’s mean age was 45.4 years, and 76.3% of the patients were female. The mean duration of the longest lapse was 35.6 days. The longest lapse was 0 to fewer than 15 days for 44.6% of patients, 15 to fewer than 30 days for 25.6% of patients, 30 to fewer than 45 days for 11.0% of patients, 45 to fewer than 60 days for 5.2% of patients, 60 to fewer than 75 days for 3.5% of patients, 75 to fewer than 90 days for 1.7% of patients, and 90 or more days for 8.3% of patients. In addition, 45.2% of patients discontinued oral DMD treatment, and the mean time to discontinuation was 249.0 days.

The authors received no financial support for this study. Dr. Nicholas reported receiving grant support from EMD Serono.

SOURCE: Nicholas J et al. CMSC 2019. Abstract DXT34.

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