S.E.A.R.C.H.™ for Treatment Options

What is S.E.A.R.C.H.™?

SEARCH for treatment options The first treatment for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993. This forever changed the landscape of how MS could be managed. Since then, numerous effective disease modifying therapies (DMTs) for MS have become available, giving neurologists and patients a variety of treatment options for slowing disease activity. With the recent introduction of an oral medication, and with new investigational drugs nearing completion of their trials, changes in the MS landscape continue to evolve at a rapid pace.

Healthcare providers continue to encourage their patients to become more health literate and to take an active, decision-making role in selecting a treatment. In doing so, an extraordinary number of factors need to be considered when choosing an appropriate MS therapy or switching from one DMT to another. Among the numerous questions to consider include: What are the therapies? Am I a candidate? What should I know about each one? How will my body react to taking one of these medications? How are the different medications administered? What about the costs or insurance? Once I have begun taking a DMT, how do I know if the one I am prescribed is working?

These and other important considerations require ongoing conversations with your doctor and other healthcare professionals. The treatment decision for each patient is unique and must be addressed individually between the person and his or her healthcare team. Additionally, patients must recognize the need to prioritize their issues, questions, and concerns in order to maximize the time with their healthcare team. With so much information to remember, organize, and prioritize, MSAA recognized the need to help frame these important discussions. By doing so, MSAA is able to support patients and their physicians in their S.E.A.R.C.H.™ for the most appropriate therapy for each individual.

Designed as a memory aid, the S.E.A.R.C.H.™ acronym represents the key areas that should be considered when “searching” for the most appropriate MS treatment. Each letter represents an important topic that must be considered by patients, physicians, and other healthcare and social service professionals. S.E.A.R.C.H.™ stands for:

SEARCH for treatment options

Much like the design of a Global Positioning System (GPS), MS patients and their physicians can employ the S.E.A.R.C.H.™ model to navigate through this dynamic, ever-changing landscape and reach their desired destination. Also, patients can use the S.E.A.R.C.H.™ tool to “recalculate” their decisions and adjust treatments if necessary in order to maximize optimum health outcomes.

For people with relapsing forms of MS who have been taking a DMT for some time but may have difficulty staying adherent or feel the need to switch therapy, MSAA has developed additional resources to help evaluate this change. Read more about Staying the Course on Therapy for suggested strategies to manage common side effects and remain on your medication schedule as well as questions to ask to help determine the effectiveness of your medication.

The S.E.A.R.C.H.™ Toolkit

MSAA has produced a variety of informational tools to help people maximize their success with S.E.A.R.C.H.™ Current S.E.A.R.C.H.™ tools available for free to order or download include:


Cover of S.E.A.R.C.H.™ Program Overview booklet

► S.E.A.R.C.H.™ Program Overview booklet with laminated, wallet-size reference card

View/Download PDF

Order a Copy

► S.E.A.R.C.H.™ Patient Workbook

View/Download PDF

Order a Copy

Archived Webinar

► How to S.E.A.R.C.H.™ for the Right MS Therapy For You (October 19, 2016)

► Download the accompanying PowerPoint presentation

Additional Tools

► MS Disease Modifying Therapy Chart of currently approved treatments

► MS Resource Guide

The initial launch of MSAA’s S.E.A.R.C.H.™ initiative was made possible with the support of Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Biogen Idec, and Teva Neuroscience. Recent updates to S.E.A.R.C.H.™ were supported by EMD Serono and Sanofi Genzyme. MSAA is solely responsible for the development of S.E.A.R.C.H.™ and its content.