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Timothy L. Vollmer, MD
Department of Neurology
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center Professor

Co-Director of the RMMSC at Anschutz Medical Center

Medical Director-Rocky Mountain MS Center
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Multiple Sclerosis Institute
Center for Neurological Disorders

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Weill Medical College of Cornell University

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New York-Presbyterian Hospital
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Timothy L. Vollmer M.D.
Department of Neurology
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Co-Director of the RMMSC at Anschutz Medical Center
Medical Director-Rocky Mountain MS Center

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The Most Cost-Effective MS Drug Is the One That Works

A couple of weeks ago, I was honored to emcee the annual Living Well With MS conference for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland. Day one was for medical professionals, and day two was attended by the MS community. The presenters and topics for both days were the same, with only a little medical jargon changed for the second day’s presentations.

In his presentation (video available here), Gavin Giovannoni, PhD, spoke of the importance of saving the brain’s cognitive reserves — at least in part by treating multiple sclerosis early and aggressively.

One of the things that struck me from his talk was the comment, “The most cost-effective MS drug is the most effective MS drug.”

When I tweeted that quote and posted it on Facebook, many people asked which drug that is. The thing is, it’s not any one of the 14 approved MS disease-modifying drugs. It’s all about finding the most effective drug for you.

‘No Evidence of Disease Activity’

Many of us in the Life With MS blog community have been living with this disease for quite some time. When I was diagnosed, there were just three approved drugs. Now, as I stated, there are 14, with more in the pipeline and some even available for “compassionate use” before they are approved.

When I started on my first injections, the best result we could hope for was a reduction in exacerbations. The thing was, of course, that we had no way of knowing whether we were having fewer exacerbations on the meds than off. Two or three attacks in a year might still be considered acceptable when there were so few options.

Now, with so many new medications working for so many people, one relapse is one relapse too many.

The new measure of success on an MS medication is “no evidence of disease activity.”

While we will still experience the residual effects of previous attacks, this new measure means that our doctors expect to find a treatment that stops the appearance of new lesions and new symptoms, stops the progression of brain atrophy and our progression on the disability status scale (EDSS), and stops any other evidence of new MS activity.

This measure is also being used in emerging therapies for progressive MS.

If you take the time to watch Dr. Giovannoni’s presentation, you’ll understand why it is important to stop this progression … progression you may not even be aware is happening.

Working Medication Back Into My Regimen

As many of you know, I’ve been off MS drugs for a number of years. I am now working with my MS medical team to determine the best course of treatment, with medication back in my regimen.

I know which types of drugs do not work for me, I know the level of risk I and my wife are willing to take, and I know the out-of-pocket expenses to expect under my insurance plan. I know many of these things, but I don’t yet know which drug I will choose or when I will begin therapy.

Time Is Brain

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by EVERYDAYHEALTH
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length

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