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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Medical Specialties & Departments > Multiple Sclerosis Treatment

Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Cost


How Much Does Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Cost?

 
average costWith Health Insurance: 10%-50% Coinsurance plus Copayshigh costWithout Health Insurance: $15,000-$50,000+ a Year
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Multiple sclerosis is a progressive autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the protective sheath around the nerves. Eventually patients can have trouble performing daily tasks, speaking and walking. The age of onset is commonly between 20 and 40, and the disease is more common in women. Treatments can lessen symptoms and slow progress of the disease.

Typical costs:

  • For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs for multiple sclerosis treatment typically consist of doctor visit, lab and prescription drug copays of 10%-50%. Multiple sclerosis treatment typically is covered by health insurance, although individual drugs or treatments might not be covered by some plans.
  • For patients not covered by health insurance, multiple sclerosis treatment costs can range from less than $15,000 to $50,000 or more per year. Cost typically is on the higher end for patients who take drugs designed to slow progress of the disease.
  • For example, at DrugsDepot.com, the brand-name drug Avonex, taken once a week by injection into the muscle, costs more than $3,900 for a one-month supply -- or a total of more than $47,000 a year. According to a study in the Journal of Medical Economics[1] , the drug natalizumab (brand name Tysabri) costs a little over $43,000 per year, and the drug fingolimod (brand name Gilenya) costs a little over $49,000 a year. At DrugsDepot.com, the brand-name drug Gilenya costs almost $4,500 per month, for a total of $54,000 per year.
  • According to one study[2] , the average direct medical cost of multiple sclerosis was almost $13,000, but costs were higher -- from about $17,000 to $22,000 on average -- for patients who take drugs designed to slow progress of the disease. According to a study by pharmacy benefits manager Prime Therapeutics[3] , the average specialty drug for multiple sclerosis costs about $30,000 a year and is steadily rising, while all other health care costs about $13,000 -- for a total of almost $43,000 a year.
Related articles: Blood Tests, Spinal Tap, MRI, Physical Therapy

What should be included:
  • The primary treatment used for multiple sclerosis is drug therapy. A doctor might recommend beginning drug therapy soon after diagnosis to slow the progression of the disease and possibly prevent some nervous system damage. Drugs often prescribed include: Avonex[4] , a beta interferon injected into the muscle and used to slow progress of the disease. And the drug Copaxone[5] , administered via injection under the skin, can interfere with the immune system's ability to attack the nerve sheath, reducing the number of attacks. The drug Gilenya[6] , taken as a daily pill, helps contain immune system cells to reduce the number of attacks. The oral medication Aubagio[7] also can reduce attacks.
  • When a patient with a relapsing form of MS experiences a relapse -- also called an attack or a flare-up -- corticosteroids typically are prescribed to reduce inflammation and lessen the severity of the flare-up. These drugs can be given in oral form or via a four-to-five-day course of IV treatment.
  • Many MS patients also require physical therapy and occupational therapy.
  • The National Multiple Sclerosis Society offers an overview of multiple sclerosis treatment[8] .
Additional costs:
  • Multiple sclerosis patients might need various assistive devices[9] , such as a cane, walker or wheelchair, bathroom grab bars and special handles for brushes and toothbrushes. A cane typically costs about $15 to $80. At SpinLife.com, walkers[10] cost from less than $100 to more than $350. A manual wheelchair costs an average of about $500, while costs for an electric wheelchair can reach $10,000.
Discounts:
  • Patient assistance programs are available for some drugs. For example, Bayer offers a $0 copay program for qualifying patients who take Betaseron[11] .
  • The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has a financial assistance program[12] to help pay for home care, durable medical equipment, transportation and other expenses.
Shopping for multiple sclerosis treatment:
  • The National Multiple Sclerosis Society offers a locator[13] for treatment centers and neurologists. Or, the American Academy of Neurology offers a doctor locator[14] to search for neurologists who subspecialize in multiple sclerosis.
  • The National MS Society offers a downloadable guide to disease-modifying drugs for multiple sclerosis[15] . The guide outlines the benefits and serious side effects of these drugs.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
 
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External Resources:
  1.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21777161
  2.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17269836
  3.  cdn2.content.compendiumblog.com/uploads/user/e7c690e8-6ff9-102a-ac6d-e4aebca50425/...
  4.  www.avonex.com/
  5.  copaxone.com/
  6.  www.gilenya.com/index.jsp
  7.  www.aubagio.com/
  8.  www.nationalmssociety.org/about-multiple-sclerosis/what-we-know-about-ms/treatment...
  9.  www.nationalmssociety.org/living-with-multiple-sclerosis/mobility-and-accessibilit...
  10.  www.spinlife.com/category.cfm?categoryID=77
  11.  www.betaseron.com/betaplus/affordability
  12.  www.nationalmssociety.org/living-with-multiple-sclerosis/society-programs-and-serv...
  13.  www.nationalmssociety.org/living-with-multiple-sclerosis/getting-the-care-you-need...
  14.  patients.aan.com/findaneurologist/
  15.  www.nationalmssociety.org/download.aspx?id=45
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