Multiple sclerosis medications – What’s important to you?
A new survey looking at the convenience of MS medications has found that how often a drug is taken is the most important attribute (Utz and colleagues. Ther Adv Neurol Disord 2014;7:263-275). People’s preference was also for an oral medication rather than an injectable, but only if a pill didn’t have to be taken too often.
The survey involved 156 people. The average age of respondents was 37 years. People were asked their medication preferences with respect to frequency of dosing, route of administration (oral or by injection) and frequency of side effects. Other attributes, including treatment effectiveness, were not studied.
Overall, 93% of people preferred oral medications over injectables. Taking one pill a day was preferred to one injection a week (73% vs. 27%) or one injection a month (57% vs. 43%). However, if the oral drug had to be taken three times a day, a once-weekly (56% vs. 44%) or once-monthly injection (63% vs. 37%) was preferred.
The choice of pills vs. injectables was influenced by the frequency of side effects. The treatment (oral or injectable) with the less frequent side effects was preferred. The frequency of side effects was more important to people with less experience taking a medication compared to those on an injectable or oral medication. The most severe side effects listed by people were fatigue, injection site reactions, and pain.
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