Jason Freeman, MD, MBA, and Brandon Brown, PharmD, discuss the poster “Quality of Life and Treatment Satisfaction With Disease-Modifying Therapies in Multiple Sclerosis” presented at ACTRIMS 2023. Sponsored By Novartis.
Jason Freeman, MD, MBA: Welcome to ACTRIMS 2023. I'm your host, Dr Jason Freeman, Medical Director, Novartis Medical Affairs, providing you updates from ACTRIMS 2023. The information herein is provided for disease educational purposes only, and is not intended to be, nor does it imply medical or diagnostic advice. Joining us today from ACTRIMS is Dr Brandon Brown, Medical Director with Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Welcome, Brandon.
Brandon Brown, PharmD: Thanks, Jason.
Jason Freeman, MD, MBA: So, you covered a poster titled, “Quality of Life and Treatment Satisfaction With DMTs in Multiple Sclerosis”. So based on this poster, how do various DMTs impact quality of life in patients with MS?
Brandon Brown, PharmD: Sure. Yes. So, as we have many different DMTs available now to treat multiple sclerosis. And I think the important thing to remember is quality of life is a multifactorial outcome. Of course, efficacy of the drug can affect quality of life if the patient's getting benefit or not. But there are other things now, I believe, that are important that we must consider and treatment burden, I believe is one of the bigger aspects of a patient's attaining their desired quality of life. So how the drug is given, how frequently it's given; those sorts of things really will play into a patient's quality of life.
Jason Freeman, MD, MBA: So, treatment burden: tell us a little bit more about that as a concept before we get into this poster.
Brandon Brown, PharmD: Sure. So, it's one of those out or one of those measurements that is difficult to attain because I think treatment burden is different for each patient. So, it's very independent for the individual patient. And it can change from medication to medication, from patient to patient. Location plays a lot into treatment burden, et cetera. So, it's, it depends, is the short answer.
Jason Freeman, MD, MBA: So, discuss with me the data from both phase 1 of the study and then what they found in phase 2 of the study.
Brandon Brown, PharmD: Sure. So, in phase 1 of the study, it was interesting. They found that the factors that patients valued most were being able to carry on with their normal lifestyle. That's how patients measured in their own minds, quality of life. In the phase 2 of the study, they determined that the patients that were on anti-CD20 therapies actually had a higher treatment satisfaction than those patients on the other therapies. That was the main takeaway of the study.
Jason Freeman, MD, MBA: So, what do you see as some of the clinical implications of this particular study?
Brandon Brown, PharmD: I think now that we have multiple therapies, over 20 therapies on the market, I think we now realize that there's more to the story than just efficacy and safety. So, quality of life measures, and we are looking at these in clinical trials now, they're incorporating more of these patient-reported outcomes, measuring quality of life and whatnot. I think we know that these are important factors for patients. One thing that this study didn't necessarily look at, but I think is important is how comfortable a patient is with their therapy really determines whether or not they're going to take that therapy. We know that patient adherence is paramount. So, these are very important topics to consider when making a selection for an individual patient.
Jason Freeman, MD, MBA: I was having a conversation with someone recently where we got into that sort of idea of adherence and persistence. What are your thoughts on why these are really sort of hot topics and important topics in the MS community in particular?
Brandon Brown, PharmD: So we know from epidemiologic studies and the historical data that adherence to these therapies has not historically been great. I think there's been many advances in terms of how these medications are given, reduction in side effects, and an increase in tolerability has really enhanced patient's abilities to actually stay on these therapies.
Jason Freeman, MD, MBA: Sure. I think these medications cost a lot of money and relapses and being admitted to a hospital and getting steroids cost a lot of money, and so I think those are some of the additional reasons why persistence and adherence and getting back to quality of life and treatment burden really become important.
Brandon Brown, PharmD: Absolutely. I think often patients' expectations from these therapies, we need to do a better job with what they expect. A lot of these patients think these medications will reverse their symptoms and make them feel a lot better when in reality these drugs mainly will stabilize the patients. I think setting expectations up front is very important as well.
Jason Freeman, MD, MBA: Well, Dr Brown, thanks for your time today. We appreciate your coverage of this poster and look forward to speaking to you soon.
Brandon Brown, PharmD: Thank you.
Jason Freeman, MD, MBA: Thank you for watching the ACTRIMS 2023 updates sponsored by Novartis. We look forward to seeing you at AAN 2023 for more exciting updates.
Transcript Edited for Clarity