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.

35 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

    • Dianne Roncal, DMD says:

      We are so sorry to hear that. However, We strongly encourage you to contact her doctor to see if she is eligible for it. We’re sending positive vibes her way. <3

  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?

    • 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.

  8. Danielle says:

    Hi, there. I am 56 years old and was diagnosed with RR MS nearly 20 years ago. I used to take Rebif but have been taking Aubagio for the past two years, as I have now been diagnosed as secondary progressive. Would this new medication be likely to help me to hold off any further progression? I am pretty ambulatory but have definitely experienced a decline in the last few years and would love to combat any further progression!

  9. Linda says:

    This drug has been approved for all types of MS, regardless of age. My husband is nearly 67 and has PPMS and was approved immediately. We have seen no clear result yet (he has finished the first 2 doses) but remain hopeful. He is on Medicare and the treatment is at no cost. If you are being turned away for some reason, call Genentech.

  10. Nay says:

    I don’t think you see results in two weeks from everything I’ve read regarding their clinical trials. I saw Christina Reyes story, prior to taking Ocrevus…she had to use crutches and a wheelchair. She was diagnosed in 1990 (age 15). After taking Ocrevus…she can now walk without assistance. Stay hopeful and pray!

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