• cost-utility analysis;
  • decision analysis model;
  • economic analysis;
  • multiple sclerosis


Objective:  To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for the management of multiple sclerosis (MS) compared to best supportive care in the United States.

Methods:  Cost-effectiveness analysis was undertaken using a state transition model of disease natural history and the impact of DMTs for the representative Medicare beneficiary with MS. Costs and outcomes were evaluated from the health-care payer perspective using a 50-year time horizon. Natural history data were drawn from a longitudinal cohort study. The effectiveness of the DMTs was evaluated through a systematic review. Utility data were taken from a study of patients with clinically definite MS in Nova Scotia. Resource use and cost data were derived from the Sonya Slifka database and associated literature.

Results:  When based on placebo-controlled evidence, the marginal cost-effectiveness of interferon beta (IFNβ) and glatiramer acetate compared to best supportive care is expected to be in excess of $100,000 per quality-adjusted life-year gained. When evidence from head-to-head trials is incorporated into the model, the cost-effectiveness of 6 MIU IFNβ-1a is expected to be considerably less favorable. Treatment discontinuation upon progression to Expanded Disability Status Scale 7.0 is expected to improve the cost-effectiveness of all DMTs.

Conclusions:  Further research is required to examine the long-term clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of these therapies. There is no definitive guidance in the United States concerning discontinuation of DMTs; this study suggests that the prudent use of a treatment discontinuation rule may considerably improve the cost-effectiveness of DMTs.