04 Jan Everything you need to know about Ocrevus
Everything you need to know about Ocrevus
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord. Ocrevus, a biologic therapy, is FDA-approved for treating relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and primary progressive multiple sclerosis.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is one of the most debilitating autoimmune diseases known to man. As your body’s immune system goes into hyperdrive trying to defend against foreign invaders, your body will begin to attack healthy nerve fibers and myelin sheathing. Although the causes of MS are unknown, the disease’s effects on the brain and spinal cord can result in:
- Muscle spasms
- Stiffness and weakness
- Vision problems
- Loss of mobility and incoordination
- Cognitive decline
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing
Severe complications such as paralysis and epilepsy in MS patients are becoming rare as treatments for MS have been greatly improved within the last decade. However, treatment courses will vary depending on the type of MS that you are diagnosed with.
Relapsing- Remitting and Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) is the most commonly diagnosed form of MS in the United States. Approximately 80% of people diagnosed with my are diagnosed with RRMS, with women in their 20s and 30s the most likely to be afflicted by the illness.
RRMS is categorized as a recurring disease with periods of relapse and remission new or advancing symptoms of MS will appear. Upon remission, all symptoms may go away or some can become permanent, which can result in disability progression.
Unlike RRMS, Primary Progressive MS (PPMS) is marked by disability progression without relapse or remission during the early stages of the disease. As a more debilitating form of MS, relapses and remission still occur later on in the disease. PPMS can be categorized as:
- Active: new MRI activity or occasional relapse
- Not active: no current flare-ups of MS activity
- With progression: signs of disability progression regardless of relapse
- Without progression: no signs of disability progression
For providers treating patients suffering from RRMS or PPMS, preventing disability progression is a top priority.
Disability progression occurs when symptoms of MS progressively become worse after relapse. Although disability progression is common, it is a main treatment goal for many providers to prevent the progression of disabilities in the patients diagnosed with RRMS. Disability progression is marked by:
- Increased muscle weakness
- Reduced visual function
- Increased difficulty moving
- Increased cognitive decline
- Increased tremors
- Increased loss of coordination
- Increased loss of sensation
- Increased trouble swallowing
- Increased trouble speaking
Luckily, there is a biological infusion drug available that has been shown to not only reduce disability progression but can prevent relapse altogether.
What is Ocrevus?
Ocrelizumab, known as Orcevus, is a biological infusion that was approved by the FDA in 2017 to treat RRMS and PPMS, marking the first FDA-approved treatment for PPMS.
Orcevus works by blocking the CD20 marker on B lymphocytes, suppressing the body’s immune response. Suppressing the body’s immune response prevents healthy tissues in your brain and spinal cord from being attacked.
As a biological infusion, Orcevus requires a patient to receive the drug intravenously (IV) under the supervision of a medical provider. Upon your first treatment, you will receive two separate infusions ideally two weeks apart.
During your first two infusions, you will receive 300 mg of Ocrevus and can expect to be at your chosen infusion provider’s facility for at least two and a half hours. After you have received your initial infusions, you will receive infusions twice a year with a dose of 600mg, with infusion time lasting approximately three hours.
What are the Benefits of Ocrevus?
During its clinical trial, Ocrevus showed incredible results improving the quality of life in patients living with RRMS and PPMS. Patients in two clinical trials showed:
- A 46% reduction in relapse
- 83% of people taking Ocrevus did not experience relapse.
- 40% less likely to have disability progression
- 33% patients showed disability improvement
- 94% had fewer T1 Gd+ sessions
What are the Side Effects of Ocrevus?
Common Side effects of Ocrevus:
- Itchy skin, rash, or hives
- Swelling of the throat
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
Severe complications can occur with Ocrevus, and it is important to speak with your doctor to see if Ocrevus is right for you. Severe side effects include:
- Increased risk of infection resulting in respiratory or HSV infections
- Hepatitis B virus reactivation
Before starting Ocrevus, your doctor will test you for Hepatitis B. If you are found to have the infection, your doctor will not provide you with Ocrevus.
Ocrevus may also increase the risk of breast cancer or of developing a progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) infection. When taking Ocrevus, the FDA recommends following breast cancer screening guidelines.
Although PML infections have not occured during clinical trials of Ocrevus, it is vital to alert your health care provider to any new neurological symptoms or an increase in disability progression to prevent this life-threatening infection.
Where Can I get my Infusion?
Infusions of Ocrevus are traditionally done in a hospital setting. However, reports have found that receiving treatment at a stand-alone or ambulatory infusion center (AIC) reduces the cost of infusions by up to 53% while offering a more personalized and private experience.
Here at Pure Infusion Suites, we put our patients first. We offer flexible scheduling, co-pay assistance, and other financial aid programs, as well as private suites equipped with recliners, flatscreen TVs, and snacks and drinks for you and your loved ones to enjoy.
Pure Infusion Suites currently has locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Our founders created Pure Infusion Suites to make the infusion process comfortable, streamlined, and affordable.
Our expertly trained staff will be with you throughout the infusion process to ensure easy referrals and insurance authorizations and reduce the cost of your infusion where we can. At Pure Infusion Suites, you will skip the long lines at the hospital and be provided with your suite, where you can enjoy your favorite shows, snacks, and food during your infusion appointment. If you have been prescribed Ocrevus and are looking for a patient-focused infusion experience, call us at 855.550.3358
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