Will Reduced Treatment Time Keep Ocrevus Competitive?
One of the key considerations when choosing a disease-modifying therapy (DMT) is how much it will disrupt your life. It’s one of several factors that need to be evaluated.
Unlike shots and pills, infusion treatments can require a significant amount of time. That’s why the U.S. Federal Drug Administration’s December approval of a shortened infusion time for Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) can be a big deal for people with MS.
MS infusion times vary
There are currently three infusions approved in the U.S. to treat MS. One is Tysabri (natalizumab), which requires about two hours in an infusion chair each month. Half that time is the actual infusion, while the other half is for observation.
Another of these DMTs is Lemtrada (alemtuzumab), which has a complicated protocol of up to eight hours of total chair time, including administering pre-medications, followed by four hours to administer the DMT, and then time for observation. This is repeated for five consecutive days. Three of those days are repeated a year later, and sometimes a third three-day course is needed.
The infusion time for Ocrevus used to be three and a half hours, with a total treatment time of about five and a half hours. Now, the time of the actual infusion has been reduced to two hours, dropping total treatment time to about four hours. (The original infusion time remains the same for the first two treatments, however, which are scheduled only two weeks apart.)
That’s about half the treatment time of Lemtrada, but Ocrevus requires a return treatment every six months.
Which one is for you?
Efficacy and possible side effects aside, which of these three DMTs fits your lifestyle? Apparently, it’s Ocrevus for many people.
A report from Spherix Global Insights lists Ocrevus as the most prescribed treatment in the U.S. for people with progressive forms of multiple sclerosis, prescribing it for nearly 60% of those patients, according to doctors surveyed. But the Spherix report warns that Ocrevus is being challenged by a newer DMT, Mayzent (siponimod). And Mayzent is a once-a-day pill. Lifestyle-wise, pills are winners.
DMT choice is always a balance to weigh the efficacy of a medication with its risks, along with lifestyle demands and cost. Does one of these therapies appeal to you more than the others? If so, which? And what affected your decision the most? Please share in the comments below.
My usual “MS News That Caught My Eye” column will return next Monday. You’re invited to visit my personal blog at www.themswire.com.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.