Doctor and patient discussing treatment options

Overcoming Challenges Related to Multiple Sclerosis Treatment: Building Awareness

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Introducing a New Series on Multiple Sclerosis 


When it comes to multiple sclerosis (MS), there are multiple challenges that can deter patients from receiving the care they need to slow the progression of this chronic, incurable disease.
 

That is unfortunate, because the past three decades have delivered numerous therapeutic advances, including 22 FDA-approved disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) that reduce the frequency and severity of MS attacks, slow the progression of disability, and reduce areas of new damage in the brain and spinal cord.

These challenges that can stand between MS patients and their successful treatment tend to fall into three broad categories: 

  • Awareness: Combating delayed diagnosis 
  • Initiation: Starting treatment on time  
  • Adherence: Keeping patients on DMTs 

This blog post and associated infographic are the first in a new series that will address each of these challenges in turn, beginning with awareness, and discuss some of the opportunities for life sciences to engage with healthcare providers and patients to improve outcomes. 

Awareness: Combating Delayed Diagnosis


There are various causes for a delayed diagnosis, including:
 

  • Because MS can be challenging to diagnose, primary care physicians often do not recognize the need to refer patients to an MS specialist.
  • Specific markers for MS diagnosis are lacking.
  • Proper diagnosis is dependent on medical history and neurological examination.
  • The patient fails to share all their symptoms with their physician. 

A 2017 survey of 5,300 MS patients in the United States found that approximately half of them visited a physician at least five times before being correctly diagnosed with MS; 42% were initially misdiagnosed with other conditions such as depression, migraine and fibromyalgia. 

Fortunately, pharma manufacturers have the opportunity to support physicians by using comprehensive real-time, real-world predictive models and data to help physicians identify patients who could benefit from being referred to an MS specialist. Download the infographic to learn more about these new approaches. 

Stay tuned for the next blog post in our series, publishing on November 4, where we’ll look at challenges―and brand opportunities―related to treatment initiation. In the meantime, explore how the OptimizeRx Therapy Initiation and Persistence Platform helps overcome the challenges of delayed diagnosis in MS and other diseases, or take a look at some of our results.