The burden of moderate-to-severe relapses in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients is underappreciated, according to a study sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Mallinckrodt.
Researchers discussed the findings at the American Academy of Neurology’s 69th annual meeting in Boston, April 22-28. The title of the presentation was “The Economic Burden Of Moderate-To-Severe Multiple Sclerosis Relapse In The United States: Findings From A Systematic Literature Review.”
The research team reviewed 24 scientific studies on the economic burden of MS relapses. Most did not address relapse severity, but those that did showed that the cost and impact of MS relapses increases with the severity of the episodes.
A study in 2003 put the three-month cost of a moderate-intensity relapse at $1,847 and a high-intensity one at $12,870. In 2016, those costs would be equivalent to $3,092 and $21,544.
A study in 2013 put the one-year cost of a low-to-moderate-intensity relapse at $18,981 and a high-intensity one at $29,355. The equivalent 2016 costs would be $21,959 and $33,961.
The effects of relapse severity on patients’ functioning and disability, caregiver burden, and relapse duration are hard to measure and have not been properly investigated, the researchers said.
They concluded that the burden associated with moderate-to-severe relapses in MS has yet to be understood, a situation that has implications for relapse awareness and management.
The fact that there have been few studies on the severity of MS relapses limited the analysis and could have impacted the results, the team said.
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