MS Survey Finds Positive HCP Relationships, Proactive Medication Interest Likely Indicators of DMT Use
—Respondents with relapsing forms of MS who have never used DMTs are more likely to have been misdiagnosed first, prefer alternative forms of therapy—
PHILADELPHIA — October 3, 2019 — A new survey from Health Union finds that people with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) who currently use a disease-modifying therapy (DMT) report positive relationships with their healthcare professionals (HCP) and interest in prescription therapies, while those who have never used a DMT prefer alternative therapies and have experienced a less straight-forward MS journey than their counterparts. The survey, titled Multiple Sclerosis In America 2019, illuminates the perspectives and experiences of people living with multiple sclerosis.
Two-thirds of Multiple Sclerosis In America 2019 patient respondents have relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), which, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), represents the most common condition course and is characterized by clearly defined attacks of neurologic symptoms. Of those respondents with RRMS, 78% said they currently use a DMT, 16% previously but no longer use a DMT and 6% have never used a DMT.
DMTs, according to the NMSS, are the best currently available treatment options for people with relapsing forms of MS for slowing the natural course of the condition, including reducing the frequency and severity of clinical attacks. There are currently more than a dozen DMTs approved by the FDA for relapsing forms of MS.
Among survey respondents with RRMS who have never used a DMT, the top reason – at 45% – was potential side effects. Additional reasons included confidence about how they manage their current treatment plan, concerns about DMT safety, lack of recommendation from an HCP and financial issues.
However, survey data also suggests a number of other factors that determine whether some people with RRMS don’t currently use a DMT. Respondents with RRMS who have never used a DMT were more likely than those who currently or previously used a DMT to be misdiagnosed first, not experience symptoms before they turned 20 and be diagnosed less than two years ago.
The data also suggests relationships with healthcare professionals may be related to whether a RRMS respondent currently uses a DMT. Respondents living with RRMS who currently use a DMT were more likely than those who previously or have never used a DMT to view their HCP relationships favorably for a number of factors. This includes being satisfied by the care received from their HCP, being comfortable discussing all aspects of MS with their HCP and believing they receive easy-to-understand test results and clear explanations of treatment options.
The type of HCP that respondents most often see might also play a role in DMT use. Respondents living with RRMS who currently use a DMT were more likely than all other respondents with RRMS to see a neurologist who specializes in MS. RRMS respondents who have never used a DMT are more likely than other RRMS respondents to say they don’t regularly see any HCP for their MS.
Unsurprisingly, due to the impact DMTs have proven to have on managing the condition, RRMS respondents who currently use a DMT were more likely than all other RRMS respondents to feel their current treatment plan is under control. They are more likely to say they actively seek out information about the latest MS medications, as well as more likely to currently use a prescription manufacturer’s website or medication brochure to learn about or manage their condition.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, RRMS respondents who have never used a DMT were more likely than those who currently or previously use a DMT to say they’d rather make changes to their lifestyle or diet than take a prescription medication.
“People with relapsing forms of MS who don’t use DMTs represent a small portion of the community, but it is so important to understand the unmet needs and nuances of their patient journeys,” said Tim Armand, co-founder and president of Health Union. “Doing so – via the results of this survey and listening to conversations on MultipleSclerosis.net – allows for a greater slate of resources for people who may not be experiencing the same condition path as many others with MS.”
Multiple Sclerosis In America 2019 surveyed 6,034 total respondents impacted by multiple sclerosis – comprised of 5,911 patients, 102 current caregivers and 21 caregivers of deceased patients – from April 2 to June 24, 2019. A summary infographic of the results is available on MultipleSclerosis.net; additional survey results may be available upon request.
About Health Union
Health Union encourages social interactions that evolve into valuable online health conversations, helping people with chronic conditions find the information, connection, and validation they seek. The company creates condition-specific online communities – publishing original, daily content and continuously cultivating social conversation – to support, educate and connect millions of people with challenging, chronic health concerns. Today, the Health Union family of brands includes 24 online health communities, including LungCancer.net, ParkinsonsDisease.net, MultipleSclerosis.net and Type2Diabetes.com.