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June 2008 Off the Wire . . .

 

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New Data Show Patients Using AVONEX Reported Less Sick Leave And Short-Term Disability Costs

Main Category: Multiple Sclerosis
Article Date: 04 Jun 2008 - 0:00 PDT
Results from an analysis assessing the differences in health benefits costs (HBCs) and lost time among employees suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) being treated with injectable disease modifying therapies (DMTs) were presented and announced by Biogen Idec as poster presentations at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Center (CMSC) annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, May 28-May 31, 2008. The results revealed that patients treated with AVONEX (interferon beta-1a IM) reported significantly less sick leave, sick leave costs and short-term disability costs than patients treated with Copaxone (glatiramer acetate).

"It is clear that a key priority in the treatment of MS is for patients to maintain a sense of normalcy," said Richard Brook, Head, Retrospective Analysis, JeSTARx Group and a study author. "Data from this study show that patients taking AVONEX miss less work due to sick leave compared to patients taking Copaxone, helping to maintain their lifestyle. Also, patients taking AVONEX saved sick leave costs and short-term disability costs for their employers and healthcare insurers compared to Copaxone."

The study analyzed an integrated employer dataset of U.S. employees from 2001-2007 to gather HBCs and lost work time from the Human Capital Management Services (HCMS) Research Reference database. HCMS receives information on all employees' short- and long-term-disability claims, workers' compensation claims, and sick-leave claims (both time and salary replacement costs). The database also contains employee-specific information on demographics, company type, job type, employment status, salary, co-pays, deductibles, and health plan. The HCMS database is representative of the general U.S. workforce in terms of age and gender; however the salaries tended to be higher than the general U.S. workforce. This study included only MS patients that were employed at the time of analysis.

The HBC portion of the study data involved a total of 311 employees and showed that among the four DMTs:
  • AVONEX patients reported low total sick leave (SL) and short-term disability (STD) costs;

  • Copaxone patients had significantly higher SL ($969 vs. $523) (P<0.05) and STD ($1056 vs. $87) (P<0.05) costs than AVONEX
The absentee portion of the study data involved a total of 273 employees and showed that among the four DMTs:
  • AVONEX patients reported 42 percent less sick leave than Copaxone (2.98 days/year vs. 7.18 days/year; P≤0.01)
About the Study

Records of 785 patients with MS were extracted from the database. Available data was obtained from the 311 patients on a DMT: (IFN-1a IM (AVONEX) n = 156, IFNβ-1b (Betaseron) n = 55, glatiramer acetate (Copaxone) n = 87, or IFN-1a SC (Rebif) n =13), and were followed for one year after their initial prescription. Two-part regression modeling was used to determine the annual cost differences (in 2007 USD) and annual lost time (in days) between cohorts while controlling for demographics, job-related information, geography, and Charlson Comorbidity Index.

"Such reductions in sick leave days, sick leave costs and short-term disability related costs reinforce the real-life benefits and proven clinical efficacy of AVONEX," said Dr. Kitty Rajagopalan, director of Global Health Economics, Biogen Idec. "We pride ourselves on providing a treatment that is not only efficacious, but allows our patients to live a normal life that includes the ability to consistently attend work. Therefore this is an important addition to the body of evidence that demonstrates the impact of MS on patients and the importance of treating appropriately."

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Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.
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AVONEX is the number one prescribed treatment for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) worldwide, and is the only once-a-week MS therapy that is proven for use after the first attack. AVONEX is also proven to slow the progression of physical disability (as shown by 37 percent reduction over two years) and reduce the number of relapses. Nearly nine out of 10 patients remained fully functional after five years. AVONEX has been proven effective in clinical trials for up to three years.

Both posters from the study were supported by Biogen Idec.

About AVONEX

AVONEX is the number one most prescribed treatment for relapsing forms of MS worldwide, with more than 130,000 patients on therapy. It was launched in the U.S. in 1996 and in Europe in 1997 for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS to slow the progression of disability and reduce relapses. AVONEX has been proven effective in clinical trials for up to three years. AVONEX is marketed internationally in more than 90 countries. AVONEX was the first treatment approved for patients who have their first clinical MS attack and have a brain MRI scan consistent with MS; this use was approved in Europe in 2002 and in the U.S. in 2003.

The most common side effects associated with AVONEX multiple sclerosis treatment are flu-like symptoms, including myalgia, fever, fatigue, headache, chills, nausea, vomiting, pain, and asthenia.

AVONEX should be used with caution in patients with depression or other mood disorders and in patients with seizure disorders. AVONEX should not be used by pregnant women. Patients with cardiac disease should be closely monitored. Patients should also be monitored for signs of hepatic injury. Routine periodic blood chemistry and hematology tests are recommended during treatment with AVONEX. Rare cases of anaphylaxis have been reported. For more information, visit www.AVONEX.com

Source: Kathleen Vigneault
Manning Selvage & Lee

View drug information on Avonex; Copaxone.

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