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Ocrevus Treatment and Side Effects: What’s Important to Know


Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) is a newly FDA-approved therapy for multiple sclerosis. It can be used to treat two forms of the disease: relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) and primary progressive MS (PPMS).

MORE: Ocrevus approval: A quick cheat sheet

As with all medications and therapies, there is a risk of side effects and infections. As Ocrevus is administered via intravenous infusions, this carries certain risks. The healthcare team that oversees the IV infusion will monitor patients for an hour after the procedure, but many side effects could take up to 24 hours to occur. Some of the risks of the IV infusion according to Genentech, the makers of Ocrevus, include:

  • Rash or Hives
  • Facial Flushing
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Sore throat
  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Racing heart beat
  • Swelling of the throat

It is not known if Ocrevus is a safe therapy for children to take, and the effects on pregnant women and breast milk have yet to be established.

MORE: Learn more about taking Ocrevus for primary-progressive multiple sclerosis

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      • Kym says:

        Hi. I am Secondary Progressive, and yesterday I had my first full infusion of Ocrevus. My Dr. said, if it’s good for Primary Progressive, and Remitting Relapsing, why wouldn’t it work for Secondary Progressive? So I signed up. But, I also know other people who have SPMS that cannot get it. I guess it up the Dr. I’ve had no side effects. I just want it to slow the progression! Good luck to you!!

  1. Laura says:

    How is this different from Ampyra which from reading patient reviews has less severe sides effects, taken in pill form, and results seem to be in many cases immediate,and far less costly? Additionally I noticed you have to be productive in your own healthcare.

    • Dennis R. says:

      Ampyra does not do anything to modify the disease and improves walking ability in most patients (treats one of the symptoms and not the disease). Ocrevus modifies your immune system (by eradicating certain immune cells that damages your nervous system, specifically the myelin sheath that protects your nerve cells.

      I am currently taking Ampyra and Rituxan (Ocrevus is very similar to Rituxan).

  2. Dennis R. says:

    Ampyra is used to improve walking for most patients and does not do anything to modify disease progression. Ocrevus eliminates specific immune cells to reduce damage to your nervous system. Neither drug cures MS.

  3. Regina Alfonso says:

    Is there any research on the incidence of MS in children who are the offspring of parents when BOTH parents have MS? My daughter and her husband were diagnosed some years after they got married. They have 2 children ages 4 and 6.

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