Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of 360 Disease-Modifying Treatment Escalation Sequences in Multiple Sclerosis [Editor's Choice]



The rapid expansion in treatment options for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) of the past decade requires clinical decision making on the sequential prescription of these treatments. Here, we compare 360 treatment escalation sequences for patients with RRMS in terms of health outcomes and societal costs in The Netherlands.


We use a microsimulation model with a societal perspective, developed in collaboration with MS neurologists, to estimate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of 360 treatment sequences starting with first-line therapies in RRMS. This model integrated data on disease progression, disease-modifying treatment efficacy, clinical decision rules, age-dependent relapse rates, quality of life, healthcare, and societal costs.


Costs and health outcomes were overlapping among different treatment escalation sequences. In our model for RRMS treatment, optimal lifetime health outcomes (20.24 ± 1.43 quality-adjusted life-years [QALYs], 6.11 ± 0.30 relapses) were achieved with the sequence peginterferon-dimethyl fumarate-ocrelizumab-natalizumab-alemtuzumab. The most cost-effective sequence (peginterferon-glatiramer acetate-ocrelizumab-cladribine-alemtuzumab) yielded numerically worse health outcomes per patient (19.59 ± 1.43 QALYs, 6.64 ± 0.43 relapses), but resulted in €98 127 ± €19 134 less costs than the most effective treatment sequence.


Effectiveness estimates of treatments have overlapping confidence intervals but the treatment sequence that yields most QALYs is not the most cost-effective option, also when taking uncertainty into account. It is important that neurologists are aware of cost constraints and its relationship with prescription behavior, but treatment decisions should be individually tailored.


Matthijs M. Versteegh Simone A. Huygens Beatrijs W.H. Wokke Joost Smolders

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