CEIS Economic Evaluation & HTA, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Via Columbia, 2 – 00133 Roma, Italy
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common causes of neurological disability in young and middle-aged adults. Patients with MS face many challenges, both physical and emotional, and see an overall reduction in their autonomy.
There is no definitive treatment for MS, though Disease Modifying Drugs (DMDs) have proved effective in reducing the frequency and severity of relapses. Unfortunately, long-term adherence to these therapies is a significant challenge due to practical difficulties as well as a general distrust towards the drugs
This study follows an original research carried out in 2008. In the first study, patients answered questions on their clinical history and expressed their judgment on the pharmacological treatment, their perceived effectiveness and factors that may undermine compliance. They have been recalled after two years to verify if the reported symptoms have changed and to assess how their knowledge of the disease and “acceptance” of the treatment have been modified.
In spite of the relatively high number of patients participating in the first study (141 patients followed at a single neurological centre), only 16 patients have completed the questionnaire for the long-term survey. A detailed descriptive analysis has been carried out, as well as a pairwise correlation analysis.
Results and Conclusions:
The interviews carried out gave an insight into how patients’ behavior may have changed over time. Compliance rate is different in newly-diagnosed patients and long-term patients; the latter are more likely to be compliant, given their personal experience with the disease. Communications with neurologists and health personnel should aim at forming therapeutic alliances with patients and detecting their preferences for a qualitatively adequate assistance throughout their illness.
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* Address correspondence to this author at the CEIS Economic Evaluation & HTA, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Via Columbia, 2 00133 Roma, Italy; Tel: +39 339 8958858; E-mail: Gitto@CEIS.uniroma2.it