Curkendall et al. Potential Health Care Cost Savings Associated With Early Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis Using Disease-Modifying Therapy. Clin Ther. 2011 Jun 17. [Epub ahead of print]
This study assessed health care utilization and expenditures associated with treating MS'ers early (CIS) with DMTs rather than delaying until MS'ers meet the full diagnostic criteria of MS (MRI evidence of dissemination in time or second clinical attack). It is important to note that this is a retrospective study from the United States using insurance claims data (2000-2008) of enrolled MS'ers before documented MS. The analysis indicated that early DMT treatment was associated with fewer hospitalisations than delayed treatment, and there was no statistically significant difference in annual health care expenditure. This suggests that the drug costs of early therapy were offset by savings in other medical expenditures.
"I wouldn't be surprised if these findings were replicated under the NHS. Unfortunately, we don't have the data available to do this sort of analysis. This study suggest that we can't really use health economic arguments to delay therapy in early MS! In addition, the biggest savings from DMTs are yet to come; i.e from delaying the onset of SPMS, or hopefully preventing SPMS."