Substantial Treatment Burden for Older Adults With Multiple Myeloma

A study published in Clinical Lymphoma, Myeloma, & Leukemia evaluated the burden of treatment for multiple myeloma (MM) among patients receiving Medicare.

A total of 3,065 patients were identified from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare database. Participants were included if they were diagnosed with MM between 2007 and 2013. Treatment burden was calculated via frequency of oncology and non-oncology healthcare visits, including acute and outpatient visits, and the number of new prescriptions filled within one year of diagnosis. The investigators conducted a logistics regression analysis to identify factors that were linked to higher treatment burden.

The burden of treatment was significant in the year proceeding diagnosis, with a median of 77 days spent conducting at least one healthcare visit (range, 55-105 days). Rates of healthcare encounters were highest within the first three months. Presence of comorbidities was associated with increased burden, with an adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of 1.27 per one-point increase in Charlson Comorbidity Index (P<0.001). Other factors associated with increased treatment burden were myeloma-related end organ damage or bone disease (aOR, 2.28; P<0.001) and treatment with autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation (aOR, 2.41; P<0.001).

“There is considerable burden of treatment in patients with newly diagnosed MM within the first year after diagnosis, particularly within the first three months,” wrote the study authors in conclusion. “Future tailored interventions aimed at optimizing this treatment burden when possible while simultaneously providing support to manage it may improve patient-centered care.”