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Retrospective Claims Data Analysis Unlocks Discovery in Multiple Sclerosis Research

One of the lesser-known complications associated with Multiple Sclerosis is a higher risk of serious infections (SIs). Cytel’s RWE experts conducted a retrospective analysis of claims data to determine the incidence of SIs among people with various types of MS. Let’s take a closer look at this method:

What are retrospective claims data analyses?

A retrospective claims data analysis, a type of retrospective database analysis, uses health insurance claims data to evaluate healthcare patterns. In general, these analyses can aid in clinical research in a variety of ways. For example, they can be used to

  • provide a large and diverse sample of patients that is free of any selection bias,
  • evaluate the effectiveness of healthcare interventions covering all healthcare sectors, and/or
  • compare the effectiveness and safety of interventions through advanced methods of comparative effectiveness research.

How did this RWE method offer insight into multiple sclerosis?

Rachel Knapp, Fraence Hardtstock, Julia Krieger, and I, with other co-authors, recently published the article, “Comparing the Risk of Serious Infections in Patients with and without MS: A German Claims Data Analysis.” We analyzed the incidence of serious infections, defined as inpatient hospitalizations with an infection as primary diagnosis, among patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), primary-progressive MS (PPMS), and secondary-progressive MS (SPMS).

Overall, 4,250 patients with MS (RRMS: 2,307, PPMS: 282, SPMS: 558, unspecified MS: 1,135) were included. The incidence rates of SIs per 100 PY [95% CI] were higher in progressive cohorts (PPMS 13.5 [11.3-16.1], SPMS 13.6 [12.0-15.3]) compared to the relapsing cohorts (3.4 [3.0-3.7]). Across all subtypes, higher rates of SIs were observed in men and older patients. Where anatomical location was specified, respiratory and genitourinary tract infections were the most commonly reported serious infections.

The study shows that MS is associated with a high incidence of severe infections, and older age and male sex are associated with an increased risk of infection-related hospitalizations.

This publication is the most recent in a series of MS publications developed by Cytel RWE experts in the last months. In case of any questions, feel free to contact us:


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