As the discussion about disease-modifying therapies for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) continues, the panelists discuss the long-term results of therapy and the effects of disease-modifying therapies on the natural history of MS.
Patricia K. Coyle, MD, concludes that it is too early to truly analyze how the emergence of disease-modifying therapies has affected the long-term costs due to a lack of data. Dr Coyle explains that MS is a long-term disease, and the average time from a relapsing to a progressive/secondary progressive phase is roughly 20 years. She states that the first disease-modifying therapy was only developed 20 years ago, so there is not much data to provide the results on how disease-modifying therapies have altered the natural history of MS.
Although Dr Coyle does not believe there is enough evidence available, she feels that disease-modifying therapies are improving MS outcomes.
Leslie Fish, PharmD, agrees with Dr Coyle and explains that although there are trial inconsistencies that currently make it difficult to assess the outcomes of disease-modifying therapies, overall the studies conducted have proven that these therapies decrease the number of exacerbations and result in less patient disability during early stages of MS.
Dr Fish concludes by stating that although disease-modifying therapy is effective in early stages, and is moving the natural history of MS toward the right direction, the treatment options lag behind for progressive phases of the disease.