MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: Predicting Progression, DMT Costs, MS Rates

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by Ed Tobias |

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Retinal Layer Thickness May Predict MS Progression, Relapses

We all know how unpredictable MS is. For some, it progresses very quickly, while for others, it follows a slow progression over many years. Wouldn’t it be nice if we knew the course our disease is likely to follow, right from diagnosis? Maybe this is the answer to our wishes.

Measurements of the thickness of the eye’s retina — the layer of nerve cells lining the back of the eye — could be used to predict disability progression and relapses in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), a real-world study from Austria suggests.

“Our study shows that both crossectional and longitudinal measurement of [retinal] thinning is reliable as a biomarker of disability worsening in a real-world setting,” the researchers said.

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Overall Cost of DMTs Stable 2018–2020, Study Finds

This is good news, I hope. I’m uncertain, however, because these data come from a large health insurance company, and the report follows another study that found that the cost of disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) more than quadrupled over the preceding decade. Even if the prices are leveling, out-of-pocket costs remain far out of reach for many people with MS. I’ll applaud when DMTs become affordable for all.

The overall cost of disease-modifying therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS) in the U.S. remained stable from 2018 to 2020, according to pharmacy and medical claims data from Prime Therapeutics’ insured members.

This stabilization derived from a balance between a reduction in Copaxone (glatiramer acetate injection) use due to the arrival of its generics, and an increase in the use of Ocrevus (ocrelizumab).

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Tecfidera, Gilenya, and Ocrevus Losing Favor as Switch Therapies in US, Spherix Finds

For the past couple of years, Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) has been King of the Hill of the disease-modifying therapies. But there are new medications on the rise — Vumerity (diroximel fumarate), Mayzent (siponimod), and Zeposia (ozanimod) — and Ocrevus is losing its foothold.

Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate), Gilenya (fingolimod), and Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) are losing ground to more recent therapies among U.S. multiple sclerosis (MS) patients switching treatment, according to the latest Spherix Global Insights report.

The launch of MS generics, bioequivalents, and new brands in the U.S. market over the past year has increased competition and promoted “an active switching dynamic,” with patients starting on a new disease-modifying therapy (DMT) “in hopes of an improved outcome,” a Spherix press release summarizing the report noted.

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Rates of MS Seem to Rise With Nations’ Prosperity

It seems counterintuitive that people in the richest countries have a higher rate of MS than those in less wealthy ones, but not when you really think about it. As this study suggests, compare the lifestyles of people in Canada and the U.S. with people in Yemen or Niger and you’ll understand. It’s more than just geography that affects the likelihood of being stricken with MS.

Rates of multiple sclerosis (MS) appear to rise with measures of prosperity, occurring more frequently in developed countries, according to a recent study.

The reasons for such disparities may be linked to better access to diagnostic facilities in developed countries, as well as increased exposure to factors, such as obesity or smoking, that increase the risk for MS. This should be investigated in greater detail, researchers advise.

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Comments

Dan MADDEN avatar

Dan MADDEN

I am incapable of reading the "full story" of any of the interesting articles here. My computer does not allow clicking on the "full story" button.

Reply
Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Dan,

I'll report this to our technical folks. What kind of computer and browser are you using, please? Meanwhile, try clicking on the headline of each of the articles. A link to each of them is also embedded there.

Ed

Reply
Dan Madden avatar

Dan Madden

Thank you, Ed and James. Just a short (I hope) senior moment on my part.
No need to contact the tech's for me.
Dan

Reply
Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Dan,

My life is filled with those moments. I'm glad we didn't have a problem but on Monday's column you'll notice that I made a little addition to the "click here" line, just to make it as easy as possible, even during a senior moment.

Ed

Reply
James avatar

James

Dan,

You have to click on the article heading (in blue font) to open the full document. The "full story" text is not a link to the article. I too made the same mistake. I find it misleading. I hope this helps.

Reply
Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

James and Dan,

You should be able to open the full article by clicking on EITHER the article heading or "click here." I've just checked and they both work for me. I'm going to tell our tech people about this but it would help if one of you would tell me what you're using to view the website (e.g. laptop, tablet or smart phone) and give me a specific example of a story where the "click here" isn't working.

Thanks,

Ed

Reply

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