Pharmaceutical economics & health policy Original research| Volume 34, ISSUE 7, P1583-1590, July 2012

Cost-Effectiveness of Early Initiation of Fingolimod Versus Delayed Initiation After 1 Year of Intramuscular Interferon Beta-1a in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis



      Fingolimod is a once-daily orally administered disease-modifying therapy (DMT) indicated for treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) to reduce the frequency of clinical relapses and delay accumulation of physical disability. In the randomized, double-blind, phase 3 TRANSFORMS trial, 0.5 mg/d oral fingolimod substantially reduced relapse frequency when compared with IM interferon-β1a (IFN-β1a) at 12-months. In a 12-month, double-blind, extension phase of the TRANSFORMS study, patients assigned to receive fingolimod continued to receive the same dosage, whereas patients who originally received IM IFN-β1a were randomized to receive either 0.5 or 1.25 mg/d fingolimod.


      To investigate the cost-effectiveness of initiating fingolimod therapy early versus after 1 year of IFN-β1a therapy using TRANSFORMS study extension data.


      A Microsoft Excel-based model was used to calculate the cost per relapse avoided for 2 years with continuous treatment with fingolimod compared with first-year treatment with IM IFN-β1a and second-year treatment with fingolimod. One-way sensitivity analyses were conducted on key input variables to assess their effect on cost per relapse avoided.


      The 2-year relapse rate in the early fingolimod arm was 0.23, and in the delayed fingolimod arm was 0.53. The cost per relapse avoided was $83,125 in the early fingolimod arm versus $103,624 in the delayed fingolimod arm. Results of the sensitivity analyses showed an effect of drug acquisition cost and number of relapses in patients who received no treatment.


      Continuous treatment with fingolimod for 2 years resulted in a lower cost per relapse avoided compared with treatment with IM IFN-β1a for the first year and then switching to fingolimod therapy. Thus, delaying fingolimod therapy does not seem to be cost effective.

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