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Home > Programs & Services > S.E.A.R.C.H.™

How to S.E.A.R.C.H.™ for the
Right MS Therapy for You!

What is S.E.A.R.C.H.™?

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:

S. = Safety
E. = Effectiveness
A. = Affordability
R. = Risks
C. = Convenience
H. = Health Outcomes (overall wellness and quality of life)

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 though 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.

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 download include:

        - How to S.E.A.R.C.H. for the Right MS Therapy For You
          Download the accompanying PowerPoint presentation
          MSAA's October 18, 2011 Webinar

      - Comprehensive feature article on S.E.A.R.C.H. from MSAA's
         magazine, The Motivator


        - S.E.A.R.C.H. Patient Workbook
                  a convenient way to collect, organize, and store information as you "search" for the most effective
                  treatment to meet your needs. The Workbook also features an office visit questionnaire to help prioritize
                  questions and maximize your time with the doctor.


      - MS Disease Modifying Therapy Chart of currently approved treatments

      - MS Resource Guide

      - The S.E.A.R.C.H.™ laminated wallet-size, reference card*
        *Also available by mail. Order form

      - S.E.A.R.C.H. Program Overview brochure


As the S.E.A.R.C.H.™ campaign begins to gain awareness and momentum, MSAA plans to roll out additional activities and tools including an on-demand educational video, live webcasts, a series of in-person public education programs, a smart-phone application, and the development of additional support materials for healthcare professionals and patients.

The MSAA S.E.A.R.C.H.™ initiative is made possible through unrestricted educational grants from Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Biogen Idec, and Teva Neuroscience. MSAA is solely responsible for the development of S.E.A.R.C.H.™ and its content.


Last Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013