Disease-modifying drugs for multiple sclerosis and subsequent health service use

Huah Shin Ng, Feng Zhu, Elaine Kingwell, Yinshan Zhao, Shenzhen Yao, Okechukwu Ekuma, Lawrence W. Svenson, Charity Evans, John D. Fisk, Ruth Ann Marrie, Helen Tremlett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: We assessed the relationship between the multiple sclerosis (MS) disease-modifying drugs (DMDs) and healthcare use. Methods: Persons with MS (aged ⩾18 years) were identified using linked population-based health administrative data in four Canadian provinces and were followed from the most recent of their first MS/demyelinating event or 1 January 1996 until the earliest of death, emigration, or study end (31 December 2017 or 31 March 2018). Prescription records captured DMD exposure, examined as any DMD, then by generation (first-generation (the injectables) or second-generation (orals/infusions)) and individual DMD. The associations with subsequent all-cause hospitalizations and physician visits were examined using proportional means model and negative binomial regression. Results: Of 35,894 MS cases (72% female), mean follow-up was 12.0 years, with person-years of DMD exposure for any, or any first- or second-generation DMD being 63,290, 54,605 and 8685, respectively. Any DMD or any first-generation DMD exposure (versus non-exposure) was associated with a 24% lower hazard of hospitalization (adjusted hazard ratio, aHR: 0.76; 95% confidence intervals (CIs): 0.71–0.82), rising to 29% for the second-generation DMDs (aHR: 0.71; 95% CI: 0.58–0.88). This ranged from 18% for teriflunomide (aHR: 0.82; 95% CI: 0.67–1.00) to 44% for fingolimod (aHR: 0.56; 95% CI: 0.36–0.87). In contrast, DMD exposure was generally not associated with substantial differences in physician visits. Conclusion: Findings provide real-world evidence of a beneficial relationship between DMD exposure and hospitalizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-596
Number of pages14
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Disease-modifying drugs
  • health services
  • hospitalization
  • multiple sclerosis
  • physician services


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