Disease-Modifying Therapy Adherence and Associated Factors in a National Sample of Medicare Patients With Multiple Sclerosis

Pengxiang Li, Vrushabh P. Ladage, Joseph Berger, Salim Chahin, Mehul Jhaveri, Caroline Geremakis, Jalpa A. Doshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objectives: Disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) reduce relapse rates and disability progression for relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS). Although 25% to 30% of all US patients with MS are Medicare beneficiaries, limited information exists on this population. This is the first study using national Medicare data to (1) describe characteristics of patients with MS using DMTs, (2) estimate adherence to DMTs over a 1-year and 3-year follow-up, and (3) examine factors associated with DMT adherence. Methods: This retrospective claims analysis used 2011-2014 100% Medicare files. Monthly adherence to MS DMTs was defined as the proportion of days covered ≥0.80 with any DMT in each month for 1-year (n = 36 593) and 3-year (n = 17 599) follow-up samples of MS DMT users. Generalized estimating equation logistic regressions were used to estimate factors associated with adherence to DMTs. Results: Over 90% of patients were eligible for Medicare owing to disability, and about three-quarters qualified for low-income subsidies. A downward trend in DMT adherence was observed over time in both samples. Monthly adherence dropped significantly between December of the prior year to January of the following year (from 76% to 65% in the 1-year follow-up sample and similar drops seen across all years in the 3-year follow-up sample). Multivariable regressions indicated characteristics such as being low-income, having a disability, and having high patient out-of-pocket DMT costs associated with poor adherence to DMTs. Conclusion: Our study provides important insights into the characteristics and DMT adherence of Medicare patients with MS and highlights the need for interventions and policies mitigating barriers to adherence in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-334
Number of pages7
JournalValue in Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Medicare
  • adherence
  • administrative claims data
  • disease-modifying therapies
  • multiple sclerosis


Dive into the research topics of 'Disease-Modifying Therapy Adherence and Associated Factors in a National Sample of Medicare Patients With Multiple Sclerosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this