Saint Louis University and Express Scripts Researchers Find Gender Differences Impact Management of MS

Study suggests separate communications approach and support would benefit men with MS

Jun 09, 2010, 11:21 ET from Express Scripts, Inc.

ST. LOUIS, June 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- New research co-published by Saint Louis University and Express Scripts, Inc., (Nasdaq: ESRX) suggests that men with multiple sclerosis (MS) may require more education and support to manage their disease and therapy than women with MS. Men also may benefit from more targeted adherence interventions.

The study found that female MS patients report better awareness of disease symptoms and have more positive perceptions of their ability to manage therapy with disease-modifying medications (DMMs).

A report based on this study was published in the April 2010 Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy. The study's results are based on a 2008 survey of patients taking a medication to treat MS.

The survey measured clinical characteristics, symptom awareness and perceived ability to manage therapy. Of the 2,022 respondents, female MS patients reported higher levels of:

  • Relapse recognition and awareness of disease symptoms
  • Knowing what to do if they miss a dose
  • Awareness of therapy options
  • Thinking that their medication was effective

Although MS affects females at two to three times the rate it affects males, the disease has a later average onset and tends to progress faster among men. While previous studies have suggested that female MS patients are more optimistic about their ability to function with the disease, no study has addressed the impact of gender on self-reported symptom awareness or perceived ability to manage therapy with DMMs. These factors are essential for optimal long-term disease management.

Because patient perceptions are related to adherence, the findings in this study may play an important role in enhancing patients' adherence to DMMs.

"A study such as this one that sheds light on gender differences in attitudes about therapy and symptom management addresses an important quality-of-life issue for people with MS, especially since research suggests that starting and staying on a disease-modifying MS therapy provides better outcomes," said Patricia O'Looney, PhD, vice president of biomedical research at the National MS Society. "The results of this study could also be helpful in developing new programs that might improve MS therapy adherence."

"The most effective solutions for non-adherence are likely to come from an advanced understanding of how to drive positive behavior change," added Emily Cox, PhD, vice president, research and analysis, at Express Scripts. "At Express Scripts, we leverage these insights to optimize patient outreach through our specialty services and programs. These programs make maximum use of the expertise we have gained in understanding patient behavior, including some of the complexities of adherence."

Amy Rauchway, DO, assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at Saint Louis University, who treats patients who have multiple sclerosis, said the research offers important insights to guide the education component of patient care. "We need to be more vigilant in letting men know about the many community resources for MS. In addition, as healthcare professionals, we should have particularly strong follow-up with men so they don't feel isolated with this disease," Rauchway said.

About Express Scripts

Express Scripts, Inc., one of the largest pharmacy benefit management companies in North America, is leading the way toward creating better health and value for patients through Consumerology®, the advanced application of the behavioral sciences to healthcare. This approach is helping millions of members realize greater healthcare outcomes and lowering cost by assisting in influencing their behavior. Headquartered in St. Louis, Express Scripts provides integrated PBM services including network-pharmacy claims processing, home delivery services, specialty benefit management, benefit-design consultation, drug-utilization review, formulary management, and medical and drug data analysis services. The company also distributes a full range of biopharmaceutical products and provides extensive cost-management and patient-care services. More information can be found at and

About Saint Louis University

Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides healthcare on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: cancer, infectious disease, liver disease, aging and brain disease, and heart/lung disease.

Media Contact: Thom Gross


SOURCE Express Scripts, Inc.