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Impact of Disease-Modifying Therapies on the Survival of Patients with Multiple Sclerosis in Taiwan, 1997–2008

Ching-Piao Tsai, Charles Tzu-Chi Lee

Clinical Drug Investigation, September 2013, Volume 33, Issue 9, pp 647-652


Little is known about the impact of disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) on the survival of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) throughout the world.

We conducted this study to investigate the association between DMTs and the survival of patients with MS in Taiwan.

A total of 1,240 individuals who had a primary diagnosis of MS and a seriously disabling disease certificate in Taiwan between 1 January 1997 and 1 December 2008 were followed up until 31 December 2009 to check what medical services were provided to them and whether they had a date of death recorded in the national mortality database. Disease-modifying therapies, including interferon beta 1-a, interferon beta 1-b and glatiramer acetate, were included in the analysis. Follow-up information was available on all individuals; the mean follow-up time was 54.3 months (standard deviation [SD] 38.8 months). A Cox regression model was utilized to reveal the effect of DMTs on MS mortality by controlling for sex, age, residence, insurance amount and geographic region.

Eighty-eight of the 1,240 individuals (7.1 %) died. The risk of mortality in the first year showed a 7-fold age- and sex-standardized mortality rate increase over that of the general population in Taiwan. In the fully adjusted model, the final independent risk factors were older age, rural residence, lower economic status and lower adherence to DMTs.

The results of this study support the notion that DMTs can improve the survival of patients with MS, and show that individuals with the risk factors of older age, rural residence and lower economic status had a higher MS-related mortality risk in Taiwan.

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About the Editors

  • Prof Timothy Vartanian

    Timothy Vartanian, Professor at the Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Department of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell...
  • Dr Claire S. Riley

    Claire S. Riley, MD is an assistant attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology in the Neurological Institute, Columbia University,...
  • Dr Rebecca Farber

    Rebecca Farber, MD is an attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology at the Neurological Institute, Columbia University, in New...

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Note that EMD Serono, Inc., has no editorial control or influence over the content of this Resource Centre. The Resource Centre and all content therein are subject to an independent editorial review.

The Grant for Multiple Sclerosis Innovation
supports promising translational research projects by academic researchers to improve understanding of multiple sclerosis (MS) for the ultimate benefit of patients.  For full information and application details, please click here

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