5 Things to Know About the New MS Drug Ocrevus

BREAKING NEWS: FDA Approves Ocrevus as 1st MS Treatment for Both Relapsing and Primary Progressive Forms

The multiple sclerosis community has been waiting with bated breath for the approval of the drug Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), which will be used to treat patients who have relapsing MS and primary progressive MS. The FDA’s decision of final approval is expected on March 28, which coincides with Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week. In preparation for the announcement, we’ve put together a list of must-know facts about the drug.

Ocrevus will be used for treating primary progressive MS. 

In clinical trials, Ocrevus was found to slow the progress of disability in primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), which accounts for approximately 10 percent of MS patients.

Ocrevus will also be used for treating relapsing MS patients. 

Ocrevus was found to slow disease activity in more patients taking the drug compared to those who were taking Rebif.

Ocrevus targets myelin-attacking B-cells. 

Ocrevus is an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody which works by targeting the mature B-cells which contribute to demyelination and damage to nerve cells. Most MS medications currently available work by targeting T-cells. This is one of the only medications that attacks these specific B-cells.

RELATED: Our columnist Ian Franks gives his views on the impending approval of Ocrevus.

25 comments

  1. Susan Mark says:

    Ms. Susan Mark is now on Dialysis for high Creatinine Levels in Blood testing. Can she be a possible candidate for Ocrevus treatment – kindly let me know – I am her Medical Power of Attorney; She used to attend many Lectures/Dinners for MS, how ever is now bed bound.
    Please give your insight to her use and possibilities for improvements. She has many hopeful expations

  2. F. Essman says:

    I believe the clinical trial protocol was for age 55 and under. For patients over 55, especially late 60’s and 70 could this be a good fit? I was anxiously awaiting approval, but have not found data for my age group, 72. I have heard many neurologists feel as one ages, often the disease slows down or appears unchanged.
    Are there any thoughts that risk vs benefit might mean older patients should not try this?

    • Sue says:

      I am wondering that too, same age group, take other medication for other conditions, how will they all work together, unfortunately at my age I appear to have become invisible.

    • KAY K says:

      I am 76 and still getting worse. I still drive, have lift for my scooter, ramp and accessible housing,supportive husband that does everything I have trouble with and would like to keep that amount of independence. Two recent head gashing falls after a good healing from a broken leg a year ago are creating big worries that make me thankful that just in time there is a solution for me. I have never had relapses, only confining progressive symptom load, heavily spinal. 23 years on Beta Seron (in lottery), then pill when it came out. MY. STORY.
      . KK krueger krueger5691@att.net

    • Georgene Sanchez says:

      I’ve been told the same ~ lived w/the disease for 30years ~ still ambulatory w/assistance such asa walker Diagnosed when the only option was PREDNISONE THROUGHOUT THE YEARS I’VE TRIED ANYTHING AVAILABLE! Hold my own & still GIGGELING! LOOK FORWARD TRYING OCREVUS!

  3. john t. hardin says:

    i have had PP MS for over 20 years and itgets worst every year..how can i get this new drug ?? i have medicare and a supplement…can not afford any other payment >>> john hardin

  4. joan quilter says:

    I notice in all the news about this drug, very little is mentioned about risks and side effects. This drug can cause cancer; why isn’t there mention of this fact?

  5. charles says:

    my understanding is that the exact mechanism of action for this drug is not yet fully known. it does deplete b cells, but not precursor b cells or plasma cells, which is why there is an increased risk of cold and flu. the exact downstream effect in the immune system that is relevant to multiple sclerosis is what i have not yet seen. the mere presence of polyclonal bands in cerebrospinal fluid is not sufficient evidence to convince me that b cell attack myelin at all. i suspect that the depletion of b cells somehow affects the maturation and proliferation of regulatory t cells, but this needs to actually be investigated in a mouse model. for now it is sufficient to know that the drug works very well, and i hope to get on it soon.

  6. Michelle Rucci says:

    Does this new drug help if you have Secondary Progessive ms? What is the difference between Primary and Secondary?
    Thanks, Michelle Rucci

    • Richard Fontana says:

      I would think this drug is a fit for secondary-progressive as we are right in between R-R and P-P…
      Why wouldn’t all 3 stages qualify? We want to know!

  7. Reenie says:

    I start my first treatment on May 9th…I am SPMS…Was diagnosed in 1999…off all MS medications for 2 years… Had 4 Rituxan tx then my new insurance refused to cover it. I look forward to, am excited about starting Ocrevus…scared? yes whether it helps or not, I have no other choice at this point in my life (55 yrs old) than to give Ocrevus a go before I totally fall apart…. RR to PP has to go through SPMS…that’s how I look at it…I was approved is all I care about…I’m STOKED, EXCITED, beyond words ESTATIC… Good luck to all MS warriors with whatever your life style, form of medication etc We Rock!!!!

    • Tim Bossie says:

      Hi Tammy. This is something that you can talk with your doctor about. Hopefully Medicaid will help with the costs. You can also contact the manufacturer of the drug themselves as they have helped several families in conjunction with insurance.

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