The S.E.A.R.C.H.™ Questions
MSAA has developed the following SEARCH questions to serve as a sample, or guide, for you to consider when evaluating your own healthcare needs. These SEARCH questions merely reflect a starting point to help you think about your own medical situation, issues to prioritize, and ways to develop questions which address your specific healthcare needs.
- What are the long-term safety profiles of these FDA-approved MS disease-modifying therapies (DMTs)?
- What tests are required prior to taking DMTs? What tests are required while receiving DMTs?
- How will DMTs interact with my current medical treatments, other medical conditions, and any complementary and alternative medicines?
- How effective are these DMTs in reducing MS relapses, reducing disease activity (as shown on an MRI), and delaying disability?
- What are my realistic expectations regarding the effectiveness of these DMTs?
- How can I tell if my DMT is working?
Access to DMT medications and the ability to switch from one therapy to another can vary greatly depending on your insurance provider, coverage levels, and additional restrictions such as step-therapy requirements. Please see below for a few sample questions, with additional information on page 12.
- Which MS DMT medications are covered by my insurance carrier?
- What are their Tier Levels and how does that affect the cost?
- If I needed to change my MS medication, what alternative DMTs are available to me?
- What are the risks of side effects associated with these DMTs?
- How frequent and severe are the side effects? How soon do they subside?
- Can these side effects be managed, and if so, how?
- How are the DMTs administered?
- How often do I take these DMTs?
- Must I have regular tests or visits to other healthcare providers to monitor the effects of my treatment?
- How will my general health and quality of life be affected by these DMTs?
- Will taking a DMT lower my immune system and cause other problems?
- Can these DMTs assist with my mobility, cognition, and other health factors?
When using the SEARCH model, it is also important to recognize that reviewing key topics and questions will likely require more than one office visit with members of your healthcare team. The SEARCH framework can also be helpful when conducting your own research before or after visiting your healthcare provider.