Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms focusing on pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that early lines of therapy for the treatment of multiple sclerosis are dominated by Teva's Copaxone and Biogen Idec's Avonex, an interferon-beta (IFN-beta) agent. According to surveyed neurologists, Copaxone's superior side-effect profile, particularly the lack of flu-like symptoms, is a key driver of its first-line use. For Avonex, lower frequency of injection-site reactions and weekly dosing are advantages surveyed neurologists say are driving its early line use. However, the new report entitled Treatment Algorithms in Multiple Sclerosis also finds that some use of these agents will shift to later lines of therapy following the anticipated launch of oral disease-modifying therapies for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
According to the report, 48 and 43 percent of surveyed neurologists expect to decrease their first-line use of Copaxone and Avonex, respectively, by 2012, while 45 and 38 percent of respondents expect to increase their third-line use of each respective therapy. Meanwhile, approximately half of surveyed neurologists do not expect to adjust their prescribing of Copaxone, Avonex or any other IFN-beta therapies in any line of treatment over the next two years.
"While the launch of the first oral disease-modifying therapies will no doubt be a transformative event in the treatment landscape for multiple sclerosis, many surveyed neurologists say they do not expect to change their prescribing habits over the next two years, which demonstrates how entrenched Copaxone, Avonex and the other IFN-beta therapies are in the treatment algorithm for multiple sclerosis," said Decision Resources Therapeutic Area Director Bethany Kiernan, Ph.D. "The fact that the prescribing trend is similar for Copaxone and all of the IFN-beta agents suggests there is little differentiation in the minds of neurologists in the suitability of these agents for use in early lines of therapy, making it critical for product marketers to emphasize the advantages their product offers to capture and defend market share."
About Treatment Algorithm Insight Series
Decision Resources combines in-depth primary research with the most extensive claims-based longitudinal patient-level data from IMS Lifelink: Health Plans Claims database to provide exceptional insight into physicians' prescribing trends and the factors that drive therapy product choice, from diagnosis through multiple courses of treatment, for a specific disease.
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