Sadigh, G., Switchenko, J., Lava, N., Duszak, R., Jr., Krupinski, E. A., Meltzer, C. C., Carlos, R. C.
BACKGROUND: Multiple sclerosis (MS) results in considerable financial burdens due to expensive treatment and high rates of disability, which could both impact care non-adherence. OBJECTIVE: To measure financial toxicity in MS patients, identify its predictors and association with care non-adherence. METHODS: Adult MS patients visiting neurology clinic (June 2018 to February 2019) were consented to complete a survey. Financial toxicity was measured using Comprehensive Score for Financial Toxicity (COST) (range: 0-44, the lower the score, the worse the financial toxicity). Independent predictors of financial toxicity were identified using linear regression. Associations of COST score with patient outcomes were assessed. RESULTS: The mean COST score in 243 recruited patients was 17.4 ± 10.2. In response to financial burdens, 66.7% and 34.7% reported life-style altering behaviors or care non-adherence, respectively. Higher financial self-efficacy was associated with less financial toxicity (coefficient, 1.33 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.02-1.64); p < 0.001). At least one relapse in the last 3 months was associated with greater financial toxicity (coefficient, -3.34 (95% CI, -6.66 to -0.01); p = 0.049). Greater financial toxicity correlated with life-style-altering coping strategy use (p < 0.001), care non-adherence (p = 0.001), and worse health-related quality of life (HRQOL) (p = 0.03). CONCLUSION: MS patients with lower financial self-efficacy and prior relapse history are at higher risk for financial toxicity, with associated care non-adherence and lower HRQOL.