Background: Disease modifying therapies (DMTs) have transformed the management of multiple sclerosis (MS). Patients can now live many years without experiencing the debilitating effects of MS. However, it is important that prescribers are both aware of and monitor for potential adverse events associated with these medications. Given the variety of mechanisms through which the currently available DMTs operate, there are a wide variety of both minor and serious adverse events for which to be vigilant.
Objectives: An online activity was developed to assess the ability of continuing medical education (CME) to improve the knowledge of potential adverse events associated with the use of DMTs among neurologists.
Methods: The online CME activity consisted of a 30-minute video discussion between three faculty experts in MS. Educational effect was assessed by comparing a matched sample of neurologists responses to four identical questions pre- and immediate post-activity. A chi-square test identified significant differences between pre- and immediate post-assessment responses. Cramers V (.06-.15 noticeable effect; .16-.26 considerable effect; >.26 extensive effect) was used to calculate the effect size of the online education. Data were collected between June 10, 2020 and September 17, 2020.
Results: Activity participation resulted in a considerable educational effect among neurologists (n=112; V=.146, P<.001). The following areas showed significant (P <.05) pre- vs post-educational improvements: identification of the DMT associated with rebound disease activity following discontinuation (25% relative pre vs post education improvement), patient profile most at risk for PML during natalizumab treatment (30% relative pre vs post education improvement), and most likely adverse events associated with switching from dimethyl fumarate to cladribine (35% relative pre vs post education improvement). 38% of neurologists had a measurable increase in confidence in assessing patients with MS for serious adverse events associated with DMTs after activity participation. Conclusions: The results indicated that a CME-certified 30-minute expert panel discussion was effective at improving knowledge among neurologists regarding the risks associated with DMTs in MS. Future education should address both the associated risks, and approaches to monitoring adverse events, in patients receiving DMTs for the management of MS.