Posted by: Thixia | November 8, 2008

Glatiramer Acetate Versus Interferon Beta-1b

Glatiramer Acetate Reduces Relapses With Lower Cost in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis: Presented at ANA





Glatiramer acetate decreases the chance of relapse in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and lowers medical costs compared with interferon beta-1b (IFN-B-1b), according to a retrospective analysis of data collected from a national commercial managed care database in the United States.




The findings were presented on September 23 at the American Neurological Association (ANA) 133rd Annual Meeting by Kenneth Johnson, MD, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland.




“These data come from managed care and practicing physicians’ prescribing decisions nationwide, and the study was not funded by a pharmaceutical company,” observed Dr. Johnson.




The study compared 308 patients who were taking glatiramer acetate and 110 patients taking IFN-B-1b for 2 years who were in the i3 LabRx database from July 2001 to June 2006. Direct medical costs and the likelihood of relapse were determined using multivariate regression analyses.




Relapse was defined as hospitalisation with MS or prescription of steroids within 7 days of an MS diagnosis. Medical costs included inpatient, outpatient, and prescription drug services.




Baseline patient characteristics such as age, number of diagnoses, number of outpatient prescription medications, and comorbidities were not significantly different between the treatment arms. The study only included patients with medical and prescription benefit coverage that were in the administrative claims database.




Relapse rate was significantly lower in the patients who used glatiramer than in patients on IFN-B-1b

(2.09% vs 10.9%; P = .0018).




In addition, costs were significantly lower in the glatiramer acetate group compared with the IFN-B-1b

($48,130 vs $53,185; P = .0345).




“This direct comparison study shows that the use of [glatiramer] is associated with significantly fewer MS relapses than use of IFN-B-1b,” the researchers concluded. “Also there were significantly lower 2-year total direct medical costs associated with GA treatment.”




The current study received funding for data analysis from TEVA, the manufacturer of glatiramer acetate.



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