A cure for multiple sclerosis (MS) remains elusive, although there are numerous disease modifying treatments available which aim to calm inflammation and lengthen the time between relapses. Not surprisingly, patients with the most faithful use of their prescriptions have the fewest relapses, says a new study of MS adherence published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.
MS patients were tracked for a two-year period, with the researchers looking at disease activity and medication use in 2,400 individuals. Those taking the MS medications glatiramer acetate and beta interferons were included in this study. How well each patient stuck with their prescribed therapy was checked through medication possession ratios, which was then compared to relapse occurrence.
As medication adherence went up, the risk of relapse went down over the two-year period. In other words, MS patients with the best adherence to their treatment have the best chance of not having a relapse. Drilling down into the data, the chances of a relapse for patients with greater than 90% adherence were only 64% of the chances of patients with less than 50% medication adherence.
The science is clear on this matter: medications are available to help keep MS relapses at bay and being diligent about taking these medications can make a difference in quality of life.
Cohen BA, Coyle PK, Leist T, et al. Therapy optimization in multiple sclerosis: A cohort study of therapy adherence and risk of relapse. Mult Scler Rel Dis 2015;4(1):75-82.