In brief: Cost blowout for DMTs; Headache Society ASM for March; Megakaryocytes in the brain

Multiple sclerosis

15 Feb 2021

Costs concerns for DMTs in RRMS

Fingolimod, ocrelizumab and cladribine constitute 70% of all expenditure on disease-modifying treatment for relapsing-remitting MS in Australia.

An analysis of the use and costs of RRMS DMTs found their use increased 27-fold between 1996 and 2019 while annual expenditure increased more than 300-fold from $1.3 million to $437 million.

The largest increases in cost were from 2012 coinciding with the listing of the oral formulations and biological medicines such as alemtuzumab.

Cladribine and ocrelizumab had the highest cost to use ratio with 0.0308 and 0.0249 AUD million per defined daily dose/100,000 population/day.

“Given the substantial government expenditure on DMTs, it will become imperative to examine the real world effectiveness of oral DMTs,” the researchers said.

Read more in Multiple Sclerosis

Megakaryocytes found in COVID-19 brain tissue

Occlusion of capillaries in the brain by megakaryocytes might explain the reports of neurological symptoms such as “brain fog” in patients with COVID-19.

Histopathological review of 15 brains from patients who died of confirmed COVID-19 found megakaryocytes in cortical capillaries in five cases.

The researchers said there were no reports of these cells in brain vessels prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“By occluding flow through individual capillaries, these large cells could cause ischemic alteration in a distinct pattern, potentially resulting in an atypical form of neurologic impairment,” they said.

Read the research letter in JAMA Neurology.

Headache Society ASM to take place in March

The Australia and New Zealand Headache Society (ANZHS) 2021 Annual Scientific Meeting will be a virtual meeting taking place on the weekend of 13-14 March.

The first day will consist of clinical and training content targeting headache clinicians hoping to improve their knowledge and clinical skills in headache management whilst the Sunday

will be scientific plenaries with international speakers from the US, UK and Europe. According to ANZHS, the sessions cover aspects of pathophysiology, unusual headache syndromes, practical tips, management for headache disorders and current controversies.

More details of the meeting and program are available from ANZHS site.


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