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WEDNESDAY, Sept. 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) — For patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), financial toxicity is common and is associated with lifestyle-altering behaviors or care nonadherence, according to a study published online Aug. 18 in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal.

Gelareh Sadigh, M.D., from Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues surveyed adult MS patients visiting a neurology clinic between June 2018 and February 2019. The Comprehensive Score for Financial Toxicity (COST) was used to measure financial toxicity, and its association with patient outcomes was assessed.

The researchers found that in 243 recruited patients, the mean COST score was 17.4 ± 10.2; 75.6 percent of patients reported some degree of financial toxicity. Overall, 66.7 and 34.7 percent of participants reported lifestyle-altering behaviors or care nonadherence, respectively, in response to financial burdens. There was an association noted for higher financial self-efficacy with less financial toxicity (coefficient, 1.33). Having at least one relapse in the last three months was associated with increased financial toxicity (coefficient, −3.34). Associations were seen between greater financial toxicity and lifestyle-altering coping strategy use, care nonadherence, and worse health-related quality of life.

“Among medically bankrupt families, MS is associated with the highest total out-of-pocket expenditures exceeding those of cancer patients,” Sadigh said in a statement. “Our study results demonstrate the high prevalence of financial toxicity for MS patients and the resulting decisions patients make that impact their health care and lifestyle.”

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