Background: The current landscape and treatment patterns of disease-modifying therapy (DMT) use among pediatric patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) is not yet well understood. This study examined DMT utilization and treatment patterns among pediatric patients newly diagnosed with MS.

Methods: Pediatric patients (<18 years) with 2 MS diagnosis claims from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2016, were identified from the MarketScan Commercial Database. Index date was defined as the date of first MS diagnosis and patients were followed up for 1-year post-index date. Outcomes evaluated included percentage of patients who initiated treatment after MS diagnosis, different DMTs initiated, treatment discontinuation, and switching treatment over the follow-up period.

Results: Of the 182,057 newly diagnosed MS patients, 288 pediatric patients (mean age: 14 years; females: 61%) were identified. Within the first year of diagnosis, 188 patients (65.3%) did not receive any DMT. The most commonly first initiated treatments were interferons and glatiramer acetate (83%), but 28% of patients switched or discontinued from first initiated treatment within 6 months of treatment initiation.

Conclusions: This study suggests that a considerable proportion of pediatric MS patients remain untreated within one year. Patients most commonly initiated injectables as their first DMT. Overall approximately 1 in 3 patients failed on therapy early. Thus, the study warrants urgency in treating these patients with currently approved treatment options.

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