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Younger MS Patients Who Are Hospitalized May Be at Higher Risk of Quitting Treatment

July 12, 2017

A new Canadian study has found that multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who start treatment at a younger age, and whose condition requires hospitalization, are more likely to stop treatment. It’s titled “Persistence to disease-modifying therapies for multiple sclerosis in a Canadian cohort” and was published in the journal, Dovepress. The research dealt with the main reasons Canadian patients quit first-line injected disease-modifying therapies. DMTs can reduce MS activity, but patients must stick with them in order for them to be effective. Researchers sought to identify MS patients at a higher risk of discontinuing treatment. They looked at Manitoba Province’s medical database to identify the types of drugs MS patients were taking and for how long.

The study consisted of 721 patients who received injected beta-interferons or Teva’s Copaxone between 1996 and 2011, and whom doctors followed for at least a year. A third of the patients were treated with beta-interferon-1b, either Bayer Healthcare’s Betaferon/Betaseron or Novatris’ Extavia. Twenty-three percent of the patients received beta-interferon-1a, either Biogen’s Avonex or Merck’s Rebif. Twenty-one percent received Copaxone. 62.6% of the patients discontinued treatment while 57.4% either reinitiated it or switched to a different DMT. Patients who were on DMT at least a year were more likely to stay with it than those who stopped in the first year. Patients who started a DMT at a younger age were more likely to stop taking t than older patients. The team also found that 16% of patients that had to be hospitalized overnight were more likely to stop their DMT treatment earlier.

Summing up, the team said: “Subjects who were younger when starting a DMT, had prior MS-related hospitalizations, were more recently diagnosed with MS, or had a greater lag time between their MS diagnosis and DMT initiation were more likely to discontinue therapy.”