Collaborative paper with four other MS Registries in Europe: SPMS and treatment differences

News, Publications, Research

Our new collaborative paper working with four other MS Registries in Europe (Sweden, Czechia, Denmark and Germany ) show how different healthcare systems approach the classification of Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS) and treatment differences.

Data from over 60,000 people with MS were used to investigate how Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS) is diagnosed and treated across these nations: Here is an outline of what we found:

The Question: MS is a complex disease, and the identification and treatment of secondary progressive MS even is even more challenging, treatment of SPMS can also vary between countries. Doctors usually prescribe medicines called disease-modifying treatments (DMTs) based on whether a patient has relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) or secondary progressive MS (SPMS). But the rules and guidelines for giving DMT’s can vary.

The Study: We used an algorithm (A sequence of actions performed on data by a computer program) to help decide if the patients had RRMS or SPMS (whilst comparing this to a doctor’s diagnosis or the participants self-declared response) to ensure consistent classification rules were applied. Then we studied what factors influenced the prescription of those DMTs.

The Findings: We found that there were differences in how DMTs were prescribed to MS patients in different countries.

  • More people with relapsing remitting disease were prescribed DMTs compared to those with secondary progressive. Interestingly, the United Kingdom had lower DMT usage than the other countries.
  • Factors that showed increased influence on a patient receiving a DMT included: Being female, having higher disability  (measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS)) and the systems of monitoring the ‘issue’ of those DMT within a country were all linked to a higher chance of receiving DMTs.

What It Means: This study shows that how MS is diagnosed/classified and treated can vary a lot depending on where you live. It also shows that it’s important for the various healthcare systems to allow for some flexibility in uncertain cases to ensure that people get access to the right treatment.

Read the paper here: