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.
The outcome of the clinical trials.
More than 1,600 MS patients participated in clinical trials for Ocrevus and 94 percent of participants had fewer brain lesions during the 96 weeks of treatment.
There was little increased risk of infection.
The clinical trials for Ocrevus also found that while patients taking the drug did have a slightly increased risk of common colds and flu, they had no significant increased risk of other infections when compared to patients taking the alternative medication, Rebif.
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