BACKGROUND:Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory, immune mediated disease of the central nervous system, with Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS) being the most common type. Within the last years, the status of high disease activity (HDA) has become increasingly important for clinical decisions. Nevertheless, little is known about the incidence, the characteristics, and the current treatment of patients with RRMS and HDA in Germany. Therefore, this study aims to estimate the incidence of HDA in a German RRMS patient population, to characterize this population and to describe current drug treatment routines and further healthcare utilization of these patients.
METHODS:A claims data analyses has been conducted, using a sample of the InGef Research Database that comprises data of approximately four million insured persons from around 70 German statutory health insurances (SHI). The study was conducted in a retrospective cohort design, including the years 2012-2016. Identification of RRMS population based on ICD-10 code (ICD-10-GM: G35.1). For identification of HDA, criteria from other studies as well as expert opinions have been used. Information on incidence, characteristics and current treatment of patients with RRMS and HDA was considered.
RESULTS:The overall HDA incidence within the RRMS population was 8.5% for 2016. It was highest for the age group of 0-19 years (29.4% women, 33.3% men) and lowest for the age group of ≥ 50 years (4.3% women, 5.6% men). Mean age of patients with RRMS and incident HDA was 38.4 years (SD: 11.8) and women accounted for 67.8%. Analyses of drug utilization showed that 82.4% received at least one disease-modifying drug (DMD) in 2016. A percentage of 49.8% of patients received drugs for relapse therapy. A share of 55% of RRMS patients with HDA had at least one hospitalization with a mean length of stay of 13.9 days (SD: 18.3 days) in 2016. The average number of outpatient physician contacts was 28.1 (SD: 14.0).
CONCLUSIONS:This study based on representative Germany-wide claims data from the SHI showed a high incidence of HDA especially within the young RRMS population. Future research should consider HDA as an important criterion for the quality of care for MS patients.