More MS news articles for September 2002

Costs and Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

Nervenarzt 2002 Jun;73(6):556-63
Rieckmann P, Toyka KV.
Neurologische Klinik, Julius-Maximilians-Universitat, Josef-Schneider-Strasse 11, 97080 Wurzburg.

This update of the consensus on escalating immunotherapy in multiple sclerosis includes for the first time also important aspects of diagnosis, documentation, and cost of disease.

The application of evidence-based therapeutic recommendations as described in the first two publications of the MSTKG has already improved the treatment situation for MS patients.

It appears that the positive attitude towards a more active immunomodulatory therapy also helped to improve MS therapy in general.

Due to the increasing use of standardized clinical documentation, individual recommendations for the application of innovative products are now clearer for patients as well as health care providers.

The study on the cost of MS performed in several European countries demonstrated that medical treatment constitutes only a small part of the total cost of MS.

It was demonstrated that MS-related costs correlate almost exponentially with increasing disability.

Therefore, pharmacoeconomic reasons might also speak for early, individually adjusted, and escalating immunotherapy.

This would also include a stringent therapy of individual relapses aimed at a complete resolution of clinical symptoms.

Recent studies focus on a possible dose-effect relation for recombinant beta-interferons.

The available data suggest a possible relation, but they have to be interpreted with caution, as important issues in the design of the studies (e.g., maintenance of blinding) were not adequately addressed.

Up to now, there has been no general recommendation for a differential indication of the individual licensed substances, but the different available dose regimes and modes of application allow for an individual adjustment of therapy.

In addition to immunomodulatory treatment, vaccinations and their effect on the disease course are important aspects in patient care.

According to recent large epidemiological studies, the recommendations have changed as the relevant immunizations with split vaccines (e.g., influenza, tetanus) are now regarded as safe and without increased risk of relapse or disease progression.