BURLINGTON, Mass., Nov. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources Group finds that, according to U.S. patient-level claims data, Biogen Idec's Tecfidera, the third-to-market oral disease modifying therapy (DMT) for multiple sclerosis (MS), captured nearly half of second-line share and 7 percent of first-line share among newly diagnosed MS patients whose prescription drug use was tracked for one year. With Tecfidera not being available until April 2013, these findings attest to the rapid and broad incorporation of Tecfidera into the MS treatment algorithm in the United States.

Other key findings from the Treatment Algorithms in Multiple Sclerosis report:

  • Role of DMT mainstays among recently treated MS patients: Among all patients who filled a DMT prescription in Q4 2013, Teva's Copaxone and the interferon beta drug class—primarily Biogen Idec's Avonex and EMD Serono/Pfizer's Rebif—claimed nearly two-thirds of the patient share. The continued reliance on these platform injectable DMTs can be attributed to neurologists' preference for time-tested products with long-term safety data. However, quarterly trend analysis shows that the rapid uptake of Tecfidera has impacted prescribing of these DMTs, as well as of Biogen Idec's Tysabri, with shares consistently declining since Tecfidera's launch.
  • Role of oral DMTs among recently treated MS patients: The oral DMTS, including Tecfidera, Genzyme's Aubagio, and Novartis's Gilenya, captured over one-quarter of share among recently treated patients, with each therapy experiencing at least some growth compared with previous quarters. However, confirming that Tecfidera is emerging as the preferred oral DMT, its share already surpasses the combined share of the earlier oral DMTs within nine months of its launch.

Comments from Decision Resources Group Analyst Emma McFadden, Ph.D.:

  • "Among newly diagnosed patients who were treated with Tecfidera as a first- or second-line treatment, few patients progressed to later lines of therapy within a year of diagnosis. This finding suggests that, more often than not, patients are able to effectively manage tolerability issues such as flushing and gastrointestinal events that can be associated with the product."
  • "In our analysis, persistency was highest for Novartis's Gilenya, the first oral DMT to reach the MS market. Although neurologists occasionally report difficultly starting patients on Gilenya due to first-dose monitoring requirements, this finding suggests that once initiated on Gilenya, patients tend to remain on the DMT, likely due to its favorable efficacy and tolerability profile."

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