Andrew N. Wilner, MD; Pavan Bhargava, MD


April 30, 2013

In This Article

Editor's Note: While onsite at the American Academy of Neurology's 2013 Annual Meeting, held in San Diego, California, Andrew N. Wilner, MD, spoke with Pavan Bhargava, MD, a neurology resident at Southern Illinois University in Springfield, Illinois, about his study[1] comparing hospitalization due to multiple sclerosis (MS) in the pre- and post-disease modifying therapy eras.

The Disease-Modifying Era

Dr. Wilner: Dr. Bhargava, why did you conduct this study?

Dr. Bhargava: MS is a disease that is associated with a large burden on our healthcare system. We spend a lot of money on disease-modifying therapies that we hope will reduce costs associated with this disease. We wanted to see whether the costs of hospitalization for MS were reduced between 1990 and 1992, before disease-modifying therapies were approved, compared with 2008-2010, when several disease-modifying therapies were available.

Dr. Wilner: We now have several disease-modifying therapies available, such as the interferons, glatiramer acetate, fingolimod, and other agents. These drugs cost $20,000-$30,000 annually.

Dr. Bhargava: Sometimes more.

Dr. Wilner: What percentage of patients with MS take these therapies?

Dr. Bhargava: We don't have good data to answer that question. However, some studies have shown that about 60% of patients with a diagnosis of MS are on disease-modifying therapies.