Adherence to and Persistence with Disease-Modifying Therapies for Multiple Sclerosis Over 24 Months: A Retrospective Claims Analysis

Neurol Ther. 2022 Mar;11(1):337-351. doi: 10.1007/s40120-021-00319-3. Epub 2022 Jan 12.


Introduction: We sought to assess adherence to and persistence with ocrelizumab (OCR) compared with other disease-modifying treatments (DMTs), by route of administration (RoA), for multiple sclerosis (MS) after 24 months in the United States.

Methods: This retrospective claims analysis of MS patients initiating a new DMT was conducted using the IBM MarketScan Commercial and Medicare Supplemental databases between April 2016 and December 2019. Continuous enrollment of ≥ 12 months before and up to 24 months after initiating the index DMT was required. Adherence was assessed based on proportion of days covered (PDC) in the follow-up period with values ≥ 80% considered adherent. Persistence was defined as no evidence of switching to another DMT or no gap ≥ 60 days in DMT coverage.

Results: A total of 1710 patients with ≥ 24 months of follow-up (OCR, n = 524; oral, n = 701; injectable, n = 365; other intravenous [IV], n = 120) were included. Patients initiating OCR had higher adherence (80% vs. 55%, 35%, and 54% for oral, injectable, and other IV, respectively) and persistence (75% vs. 54%, 33%, and 55%, respectively) at 24 months. Relative risks (RRs) of 24-month non-adherence for those initiating orals, injectables, and other IVs were 2.2 (95% CI, 1.7-2.9), 3.0 (95% CI, 2.2-4.0), and 2.2 (95% CI, 1.5-3.3), respectively, compared to those initiating OCR. Similarly, patients receiving orals, injectables, and other IVs had RR of 1.9 (95% CI, 1.4-2.4), 2.5 (95% CI, 1.9-3.4), and 1.8 (95% CI, 1.2-2.6) for 24-month discontinuation, respectively. Similar patterns were observed at 12 and 18 months.

Conclusions: Patients initiating OCR in a real-world setting achieved higher rates of adherence and persistence at 24 months compared with those initiating other DMTs, consistent with published literature showing similar results at 12 and 18 months. Optimizing medication adherence and persistence is fundamental to MS care, so clinicians should consider all elements of DMTs that may improve compliance.

Keywords: Adherence; MS; Multiple sclerosis; Ocrelizumab; Persistence.