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J Clin Med Res. 2018 Feb;10(2):88-105. doi: 10.14740/jocmr3168w. Epub 2017 Dec 30.

A Multiple Treatment Comparison of Eleven Disease-Modifying Drugs Used for Multiple Sclerosis.

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Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norway.
Department of Pharmacology, University of Oslo, Norway.



Several disease-modifying drug therapies are available for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). To ensure the most appropriate MS management, we assessed the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the disease-modifying medicines used for MS.


We conducted a systematic review including 11 disease-modifying drugs used for treatment of adult patients diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS. We performed a network meta-analysis using both direct and indirect evidence. We examined the endpoints, annual relapse, disability progression, mortality, serious adverse events and withdrawal from the study due to adverse events. Cost-effectiveness was assessed by developing a decision model. The model calculated costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) with different treatment strategies. Uncertainties in the parameter values were explored with a probabilistic sensitivity analysis and several scenario analyses.


Alemtuzumab 12 mg was the most effective against annual relapse (high quality evidence). For disability progression, dimethyl fumarate 240 mg and fingolimod 0.5 mg and 1.25 mg were more effective treatment alternatives (high quality evidence). For withdrawal due to adverse events, the conclusion is unclear due to the low quality of the available evidence. Peg-interferon beta-1a was associated with more adverse events (than the other treatments). None of the examined treatments had an effect on overall mortality compared to placebo. The economic analysis indicated that alemtuzumab was more effective in terms of QALYs and less costly than the other treatment alternatives. Discarding alemtuzumab, three treatment alternatives (interferon beta-1b (Extavia), peg-interferon beta-1a and natalizumab) could be considered cost-effective depending on the willingness-to-pay (WTP) threshold. Assuming a WTP below EUR 111,690 per QALY, interferon beta-1b (Extavia) was approximately 36% likely to be the most cost-effective treatment, followed by peg-interferon beta-1a (approximately 34% likely).


Our results showed that alemtuzumab can be considered as more effective and less costly than the other treatment alternatives. There is a substantial potential cost saving if more patients start on the more effective and less costly treatment alternatives.


Economics; Multiple sclerosis; Multiple treatment comparison; Pharmaceutical; Relapsing-remitting

Conflict of interest statement

None of the authors have any conflict of interest related to this manuscript.

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