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1.  Multiple Sclerosis Therapy With Disease-Modifying Treatments in Germany: The PEARL (ProspEctive phArmacoeconomic cohoRt evaluation) Noninterventional Study Protocol 
JMIR Research Protocols  2016;5(1):e23.
Background
Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) require long-term therapy and have a wide variety of needs for health-related support. The efficacy and safety of MS therapy, as assessed by both clinicians and patients, are important parameters that need to be considered. However, few studies combine data on efficacy and safety outcomes with pharmacoeconomic data.
Objective
Here, we present the study design of the ProspEctive phArmacoeconomic cohoRt evaluation (PEARL), a prospective, multicenter, noninterventional cohort study on patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) treated with disease-modifying treatments (DMTs).
Methods
During a prospective observational phase of 24 months per patient, PEARL evaluated clinical and patient-perceived efficacy and safety measures, as well as pharmacoeconomic data on RRMS patients treated with DMTs—interferon beta and glatiramer acetate. Measurements of the patients' perceptions included the assessment of patient-reported quality of life, treatment satisfaction, and compliance. The study was planned to include 1800 outpatients from 180 German neurological practices who had continuously been treated with an approved DMT for at least 30 days. The primary statistical analyses of the PEARL study will be descriptive. Particular focus will be on specific subgroups, such as patients who switched DMTs during therapy and patients with disease worsening or disease activity. Subgroups will be compared using stratified analyses.
Results
Data collection for PEARL started in September 2010 and ended in July 2013. As of July 2015, the study is completed and is currently being analyzed and written up.
Conclusions
PEARL is evaluating both the health status and resource utilization of RRMS patients treated with DMTs in Germany. The combination of pharmacoeconomic data with clinical and patients' self-perceived efficacy and safety outcomes will add useful information to the currently incomplete picture of the overall RRMS burden in Germany.
doi:10.2196/resprot.4473
PMCID: PMC4759453  PMID: 26846334
multiple sclerosis; outpatient care; efficacy; safety; pharmacoeconomics; disease-modifying therapies
2.  Combination treatment of fingolimod with antidepressants in relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis patients with depression: a multicentre, open-label study – REGAIN 
Objectives:
Approximately one in two patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) suffer from comorbid depression. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and tolerability of fingolimod and antidepressant combination in relapsing–remitting MS patients with mild-to-moderate depression. Efficacy outcome variables were quality of life (QoL), fatigue, disability and depression.
Methods:
Patients received open-label fingolimod 0.5 mg over 2 weeks, followed by fingolimod plus citalopram (40 mg), fluoxetine (40 mg) or venlafaxine (150 mg) over 16 weeks. The antidepressant was selected at the physician’s discretion.
Results:
In total, 54 patients were recruited at 25 centres across Germany. No new safety signals (including cardiac) emerged compared with previous clinical studies. Adverse events (mostly mild-to-moderate) were reported in 43 patients. A total of three patients had serious adverse events and 10 discontinued the study. QoL (mean [95% confidence interval]) improved by 2.2 (−3.3, −1.2; Patient Reported Indices for MS questionnaire), fatigue by 8.2 (−13.1, −3.3; modified Fatigue Impact Scale) and depression by 6.3 (−8.4, −4.2; Hamilton Depression Scale) points. However, the results must be interpreted cautiously owing to limited patient numbers.
Conclusions:
Combination of fingolimod with antidepressant medication showed no unexpected safety signals. Patient-reported outcomes (QoL, disability, fatigue and depression) remained stable or improved.
doi:10.1177/1756285616651197
PMCID: PMC4994781  PMID: 27582893
depression; fatigue; fingolimod; FTY720; Gilenya®; multiple sclerosis
3.  Safety relevant knowledge of orally anticoagulated patients without self-monitoring: a baseline survey in primary care 
BMC Family Practice  2014;15:104.
Background
Effective and safe management of oral anticoagulant treatment (OAT) requires a high level of patient knowledge and adherence. The aim of this study was to assess patient knowledge about OAT and factors associated with patient knowledge.
Methods
This is a baseline survey of a cluster-randomized controlled trial in 22 general practices with an educational intervention for patients or their caregivers. We assessed knowledge about general information on OAT and key facts regarding nutrition, drug-interactions and other safety precautions of 345 patients at baseline.
Results
Participants rated their knowledge about OAT as excellent to good (56%), moderate (36%) or poor (8%). However, there was a discrepancy between self-rated knowledge and evaluated actual knowledge and we observed serious knowledge gaps. Half of the participants (49%) were unaware of dietary recommendations. The majority (80%) did not know which non-prescription analgesic is the safest and 73% indicated they would not inform pharmacists about OAT. Many participants (35-75%) would not recognize important emergency situations. After adjustment in a multivariate analysis, older age and less than 10 years education remained significantly associated with lower overall score, but not with self-rated knowledge.
Conclusions
Patients have relevant knowledge gaps, potentially affecting safe and effective OAT. There is a need to assess patient knowledge and for structured education programs.
Trial registration
Deutsches Register Klinischer Studien (German Clinical Trials Register): DRKS00000586.
Universal Trial Number (UTN U1111-1118-3464).
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-15-104
PMCID: PMC4045910  PMID: 24885192
4.  Practice nursed-based, individual and video-assisted patient education in oral anticoagulation - Protocol of a cluster-randomized controlled trial 
BMC Family Practice  2011;12:17.
Background
Managing oral anticoagulant treatment (OAT) is a challenge for patients and primary care providers. It requires a high level of patient knowledge and adherence. Studies have shown that insufficient adherence and a low level of patient knowledge about OAT are primary causes for complications. This trial is the first to evaluate the long-term effects of a complex practice nurse-based patient education program in comparison to a patient brochure only.
Methods and design
This trial will be a cluster-randomized controlled trial in 22 general practices (GPs) recruiting 360 patients with OAT. GPs will be randomized into an intervention group or a control group. A baseline questionnaire will assess pre-existing knowledge about OAT. The patients in the intervention group will be educated by a complex education program which consists of a video, a brochure and individual training by a practice nurse. The video gives information about OAT, nutrition, and instructions about how to manage critical situations. The brochure repeats the content of the video. After 4 to 6 weeks, the intervention will be recapitulated. The control group will receive the brochure only. After 6 months, questionnaires will be used in both groups to assess patient knowledge about OAT as well as patients' subjective feelings of safety. Separately, we will evaluate patient records, looking for documented complications and the time spent in the therapeutic range.
Discussion
This trial will start in January 2011. This trial will evaluate the long-term effectiveness of a video-assisted education program on patients with OAT in comparison to a patient information brochure. Most previous studies have evaluated knowledge directly after an educational intervention. Our trial will look for long-term differences in basic knowledge of OAT. We expect that our complex patient education program effectively increases long-term basic knowledge about OAT. Although the population of our study is too small to observe differences in adverse effects, we expect to discover differences in secondary outcomes, such as the time spent in the therapeutic range.
Trial registration
Deutsches Register Klinischer Studien (German Clinical Trials Register): DRKS00000586
Universal Trial Number (UTN U1111-1118-3464)
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-12-17
PMCID: PMC3089775  PMID: 21477372
5.  Implementing the cross-disciplinary subject of palliative medicine (Q13) against the backdrop of recent changes of the legal framework using University Medical School Göttingen as an example 
Palliative care for patients with advanced and progressive diseases has recently become an integrated and compulsory part of undergraduate training in Germany. Up until now, undergraduate teaching in this cross-disciplinary medical field varied and therefore problems during the implementation process with regard to formal aspects and teaching content are to be expected.
This contribution summarizes the new legislative framework for palliative care as an independent specialty in undergraduate medical training and describes format, content and problems of the current implementation process at the University Medical School Göttingen, in order to provide advice and support for other faculties.
doi:10.3205/zma000704
PMCID: PMC3140373  PMID: 21818212
Palliative care; cross-disciplinary subject; cooperation; symptom control; attitude

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