A year after U.S. regulators approved Genentech’s Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) as the first treatment for both the relapsing and progressive forms of multiple sclerosis, a prominent neurologist involved in the Phase 3 clinical trials that led to its authorization says it has been beneficial for some MS patients.
But it’s simply too early to tell if the infusion therapy is the game changer its developers predicted it could be for the MS population in general, he said.
“It’s too soon to say anything. We usually look at patients who were followed for two years in the blinded portion [of a trial] and then in open-label extensions,” Lisak told MS News Today in a phone interview.
“Given that, I can say that quite a few patients, in my experience, who were doing poorly on other medications and then switched to ocrelizumab seem to be doing well,” he said. “Among patients who were not doing well with breakthrough attacks or imaging abnormalities, a lot of them seem to have stopped having attacks.”
Hope for PPMS patients
In clinical trials, Ocrevus — which is administered as an intravenous infusion once every six months — slowed MS progression. This has given hope to the thousands who suffer from primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) and the more common relapsing-remitting (RRMS) form of the disease.
About 15 percent of all MS patients are believed to have PPMS, which in general is more difficult than RRMS to diagnose and treat. People with PPMS also tend to have more difficulty walking, and usually require more assistance with everyday activities.
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