American Osteopathic Association Journal features LUCOM faculty
Researchers examined the insurance claims and medical records of 681 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and found those who adhered to medication schedules had significantly better physical outcomes than patients who did not, although the total overall costs for their care were higher.
The findings, published in the December edition of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, are considered significant because it is harder to assess treatment results for patients with MS than for those with other chronic illnesses, making it difficult to determine whether the treatment benefits justify their cost.
Researchers noted that the disease has few easily obtainable objective measures, like blood pressure or glucose levels. For patients with MS, disease activity is primarily measured through imaging studies, which can identify new lesions in the event of a relapse. Those studies are expensive and aren't routinely performed or captured in a quantitative fashion.
"Payers often look at near-term improvement to determine whether a treatment is effective and worth the cost," says Carl Hoegerl, DO, a neurologist at the Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine and a co-researcher on this study. "But the case for MS treatment becomes evident when you see that the rate of decline becomes much slower and less severe."