Prescriptions of Roche’s Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) among multiple sclerosis (MS) patients initiating or switching a disease-modifying therapy (DMT) continue to rise in Europe, according to a survey conducted by Spherix Global Insights.
Ocrevus, an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody administered directly into a vein, was approved in the European Union to treat active forms of relapsing MS and primary progressive MS (PPMS) — for which there were no approved treatments — in January 2018.
However, the recent approval of Novartis’s Mayzent (siponimod) as the first oral treatment for adults with active secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS), and the potential approval of ofatumumab (by Novartis and Genmab) for relapsing forms of MS may threaten Ocrevus’s position as “one of the most preferred DMTs” on the continental market, a press release summarizing the report noted.
Results of the online survey, sent to 247 neurologists in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K. less than a month after Mayzent’s approval, were detailed in the newest bi-annual report “RealTime Dynamix: Multiple Sclerosis (EU).” The survey looked into trends regarding DMT use and future expectations.
Findings confirmed that the introduction of Ocrevus, Merck KGaA’s Mavenclad (cladribine) — an oral induction therapy for active relapsing MS — and Mayzent have contributed to the recent growth in DMT use rates for relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), active SPMS, and PPMS. In induction therapy, an aggressive approach with a highly effective agent is given to newly diagnosed patients as their first treatment.
Notably, Ocrevus “has shown tremendous ability to usurp historical mainstays,” and an “impressive and sustained” growth among patients initiating or switching DMTs, Spherix noted in the release.
Data showed that the therapy replaced glatiramer acetate — sold by Teva under the brand name Copaxone and more recently in bioequivalent generic versions — as one of the most widely used DMTs on the market.
Glatiramer acetate, which is frequently the first choice for RRMS treatment due to its favorable safety profile, is given through under-the-skin injections.
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