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Costs Associated With Multiple Sclerosis Rise As Severity Of Disease Increases

A new study has found that as multiple sclerosis (MS) worsens, costs associated with the disease increases. The study, “New insights into the burden and costs of multiple sclerosis in Europe,” was published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal. The study consisted of more than 16,000 patients in 16 European countries. Researchers obtained their information from patient self-reporting. Patients used the Kurtzke’s Expanded Disability Status Sale (EDSS) to assess the severity of their disease. They also reported on their quality of life and their resource use.

Researchers divided the patients into three categories: Scores between 0 and 3 on the EDSS scale, scores of 4-6.5, and scores of 7 to 9. Respectively, the three categories represent patients who had a mild disease, moderate disease, and severe disease. Patients then assessed their health-related quality of life with the EuroQol Five Dimensions questionnaire. Results showed that the work capacity of MS patients dropped from 82% of a healthy person’s to 8% as the severity of the disease increased. The mean annual cost of having a mild form of MS was 22,800 euros, or around $26,300, researchers reported. The cost of having a moderate disease was 37,100 euros, or about $42,800. And the cost of a severe disease was 57,500 euros, or $66,340.

“Costs are dependent on the availability, use and price of services and on disease severity,” the researchers wrote. “Costs were related to disease severity” in all countries “and were dominated by production losses, non-healthcare costs and DMTs,” or disease-modifying therapies. Those therapies may be a key reason why the highest percentage of healthcare costs occurred in patients with a mild disease, researchers said. Doctors prescribe a lot of DMTs to this group. Other factors were that many patients with mild diseases were still able to work. Overall, as MS becomes more severe, patients’ production losses rise.


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