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BMC Neurol. 2011 Oct 6;11:122. doi: 10.1186/1471-2377-11-122.

Disease-modifying drug initiation patterns in commercially insured multiple sclerosis patients: a retrospective cohort study.

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Thomson Reuters, 332 Bryn Mawr Ave, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004, USA.



The goal of this research was to compare the demographics, clinical characteristics and treatment patterns for newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis (MS) patients in a commercial managed care population who received disease-modifying drug (DMD) therapy versus those not receiving DMD therapy.


A retrospective cohort study using US administrative healthcare claims identified individuals newly diagnosed with MS (no prior MS diagnosis 12 months prior using ICD-9-CM 340) and ≥18 years old during 2001-2007 to characterize them based on demographics, clinical characteristics, and pharmacologic therapy for one year prior to and a minimum of one year post-index. The index date was the first MS diagnosis occurring in the study period. Follow-up of subjects was done by ICD-9-CM code identification and not by actual chart review. Multivariate analyses were conducted to adjust for confounding variables.


Patients were followed for an average of 35.7±17.5 months after their index diagnosis. Forty-three percent (n=4,462) of incident patients received treatment with at least one of the DMDs during the post-index period. Treated patients were primarily in the younger age categories of 18-44 years of age, with DMD therapy initiated an average of 5.3±9.1 months after the index diagnosis. Once treatment was initiated, 27.7% discontinued DMD therapy after an average of 17.6±14.6 months, and 16.5% had treatment gaps in excess of 60 days.


Nearly 60% of newly-diagnosed MS patients in this commercial managed care population remained untreated while over a quarter of treated patients stopped therapy and one-sixth experienced treatment gaps despite the risk of disease progression or a return of pre-treatment disease activity.

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