‘Just Keep Going’ – How 3 Women Found the Right RMS Treatment for Them
Julie’s Story – “I don’t miss a beat”
On the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend in 2021, Julie returned home from work to feed the animals on her family farm—a second job and passion project for her—and noticed numbness in her feet. When it progressed through her entire lower body over the course of the weekend, she and her family became increasingly concerned and ultimately went to the hospital. There, she had multiple rounds of lab work and two MRIs.
Her doctor told her it might be multiple sclerosis (MS), but when the results came back two weeks later, it was official: Julie was diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS), a type of MS that involves relapses and remissions (periods of partial or complete recovery).1,2 The sudden onset of her symptoms and swift diagnosis were shocks to Julie and her family. But realizing she needed to move forward through the situation, she determined to tackle it and make a plan. “I literally just turned to my doctor and said, ‘okay, so what do I need to do next? What personally can I do to help myself?’”
Julie and her neurologist began the conversation about her options. “I trusted my doctor,” she said. “He listened to me as well as I listened to him. He said, ‘let’s talk about your lifestyle, what’s best for you.’ I told him that I wanted something that works with my schedule but is very effective.”
Julie’s doctor recommended Kesimpta® (ofatumumab), the first and only self-administered B-cell injection therapy for people living with RMS that typically takes one minute a month when the patient is ready to administer.3*† Julie was concerned about potential side effects, since she’d had allergies to other medications in the past. “My neurologist also talked to me about the potential side effects of Kesimpta. I felt that the pros outweighed the cons and I wanted to try it.” In clinical studies, Kesimpta had an overall safety profile similar to teriflunomide, a daily oral treatment for RMS.4
After starting Kesimpta almost one year ago, Julie says the monthly administration she can do at home works well with her lifestyle. “Kesimpta is perfect for me. I’m a very busy person,” she says.
Rachel’s Story – “A new chapter”
Making treatment decisions is a unique process for everyone. While Julie’s path was relatively straightforward, Rachel, another person living with RMS, had a more winding road. She’s also lived with RMS for nine years. But even as a medical professional herself (Rachel creates treatment plans for people who have cancer), finding the best treatment option for her was no easy task and it took some time to find the right fit.
Rachel stayed on her first treatment for two years, but during that time she began to feel like there may be another option out there for her. So she did some research, talked with her doctor, and together they decided she would try a different medication. Rachel was on her second treatment, teriflunomide, for three years, but developed new lesions while on it. By then she had two neurologists—she always likes a second opinion—who each independently suggested she try Kesimpta.
“After doing all my research, the data showed that Kesimpta did better with slowing disability progression and reducing lesions versus teriflunomide, which for me was extremely important,” says Rachel.3 In clinical studies against teriflunomide, Rachel’s previous therapy, Kesimpta reduced the RMS activity you see (relapses and disability progression) and the activity you don’t (lesions on MRI scans).4 Rachel’s most recent MRI showed she had no new lesions.
In addition to the clinical data, Rachel likes the fact that with the Sensoready® Pen she doesn’t even have to see the needle, which she was worried about. The fact that it’s only once a month* also works well for her.5 “I don’t feel like I’m reminded every day that I take an RMS treatment,” she says, “and personally, I love that feeling.” Through all the ups and downs in her RMS journey over the years, Rachel says she’s learned to adapt, developing new health routines and continuing her longtime love of traveling to new places. “Having a diagnosis of RMS isn’t the end,” she says. “It’s a new beginning, a new chapter. You just have to adapt… Life goes on and life is fun, and you can still do the things you want to do.”
Michelle’s Story – “I’m a doer and a fixer”
When Michelle was diagnosed with RMS in 2005, it was initially a blow to her natural high-energy state. Like many living with RMS, Michelle has always been a doer, a parent of three children, working, and jumping into ambitious business and household projects. “I’m a doer and a fixer,” Michelle says. “It’s hard for me to say ‘no.’” She says the diagnosis required her to recalibrate the way she spends her energy—and to find a medication that worked with her lifestyle.
For six years, Michelle stayed on one treatment, but eventually decided she wanted to try something different. She talked to her doctor and switched to another therapy, which she stayed on for nine years. Over that time, Michelle kept abreast of the advancements in RMS treatment and ultimately felt she wanted to try another option—so again she spoke with her doctor, who recommended Kesimpta shortly after it became available.
“I really thought the way Kesimpta worked was smart,” she says. “It seemed to me that it was an advancement in science.” Michelle was intrigued by the idea of an at-home therapy that’s an injection just under the skin. This precise delivery is believed to allow the treatment to target the B cells in the lymph nodes, which may be associated with RMS. Although it is not known how Kesimpta works, this targeted approach is thought to limit the impact on other B cells your body needs to maintain immune function. While Michelle had been on her previous therapy for nearly a decade, she is happy she decided to explore making a change. “For me,” she says, “[it’s about] not being afraid to try different things.” Michelle adds that her Alongside Kesimpta coordinator helped answer all her questions and navigate her new insurance after a job change to receive her first dose sooner than she’d thought.6
Michelle has been doing well since she started Kesimpta and remains active but has also added self-care and rest when she needs it. She spends some of her time counseling people who are newly diagnosed. “I tell people that RMS is a wonderful way to value life that just teaches you that every minute of every day is important.”
“It’s going to be okay. You just have to take it day by day.”
For Julie, too, having passed the one-year mark since her diagnosis, taking time for herself has been key. Her advice for people recently diagnosed with RMS is take a deep breath and give yourself time to process—and then work closely with your doctor to find the right treatment for you. “You must trust your doctor—and have those open conversations with them,” she says. “Don’t give up, just keep going and embrace it. It’s going to be okay. You just have to take it day by day.”
*As per stability technical specification data, when the patient is ready to inject, it typically takes less than 1 minute a month to administer. Initial dosing period consists of 20 mg subcutaneous doses at weeks 0, 1, and 2. Subsequent once monthly dosing. Please see Instructions for Use for more detailed instructions on preparation and administration of Kesimpta.
† Administration time of the injection. It does not reflect the total time required for treatment, which includes pre- and post-administration time.
What is KESIMPTA (ofatumumab) injection?
KESIMPTA is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) including clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease.
It is not known if KESIMPTA is safe or effective in children.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Who should not take KESIMPTA?
Do NOT take KESIMPTA if you have active hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.
What is the most important information I should know about KESIMPTA?
KESIMPTA can cause serious side effects such as:
- Infections. Serious infections can happen during treatment with KESIMPTA. If you have an active infection, your healthcare provider (HCP) should delay your treatment with KESIMPTA until your infection is gone. KESIMPTA taken before or after other medicines that weaken the immune system may increase your risk of getting infections. Tell your HCP right away if you have any infections or get any symptoms including painful and frequent urination, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, fever, chills, cough, or body aches.
- HBV reactivation. If you have ever had HBV infection, it may become active again during or after treatment with KESIMPTA (reactivation). If this happens, it may cause serious liver problems including liver failure or death. Before starting KESIMPTA, your HCP will do a blood test to check for HBV. They will also continue to monitor you during and after treatment with KESIMPTA for HBV. Tell your HCP right away if you get worsening tiredness or yellowing of your skin or the white part of your eyes.
- Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML). PML may happen with KESIMPTA. PML is a rare, serious brain infection caused by a virus that may get worse over days or weeks. PML can result in death or severe disability. Tell your HCP right away if you have any new or worsening neurologic signs or symptoms. These may include weakness on one side of your body, loss of coordination in arms and legs, vision problems, changes in thinking and memory, which may lead to confusion and personality changes.
- Weakened immune system. KESIMPTA taken before or after other medicines that weaken the immune system could increase your risk of getting infections.
Before you take KESIMPTA, tell your HCP about all your medical conditions, including if you:
- Have or think you have an infection including HBV or PML.
- Have ever taken, currently take, or plan to take medicines that affect your immune system. These medicines could increase your risk of getting an infection.
- Have had a recent vaccination or are scheduled to receive any vaccinations.
- You should receive any required ‘live’ or ‘live-attenuated’ vaccines at least 4 weeks before you start treatment with KESIMPTA. You should not receive ‘live’ or ‘live-attenuated’ vaccines while you are being treated with KESIMPTA and until your HCP tells you that your immune system is no longer weakened.
- Whenever possible, you should receive any ‘non-live’ vaccines at least 2 weeks before you start treatment with KESIMPTA.
- Talk to your HCP about vaccinations for your baby if you used KESIMPTA during your pregnancy.
- Are pregnant, think that you might be pregnant, or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if KESIMPTA will harm your unborn baby. Females who can become pregnant should use birth control (contraception) during treatment with KESIMPTA and for 6 months after your last treatment. Talk with your HCP about what birth control method is right for you during this time.
- Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if KESIMPTA passes into your breast milk. Talk to your HCP about the best way to feed your baby if you take KESIMPTA.
Tell your HCP about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
How should I use KESIMPTA?
See the detailed Instructions for Use that comes with KESIMPTA for information about how to prepare and inject a dose of KESIMPTA and how to properly throw away (dispose of) used KESIMPTA Sensoready pens or prefilled syringes.
- Use KESIMPTA exactly as your HCP tells you to use
- Your HCP will show you how to prepare and inject KESIMPTA the right way before you use it for the first
- Do not inject into areas where the skin is tender, bruised, red, scaly or Avoid areas with moles, scars, or stretch marks.
KESIMPTA may cause serious side effects including:
- Injection-related reactions. Injection-related reactions are a common side effect of KESIMPTA. Injecting KESIMPTA can cause injection-related reactions that can happen within 24 hours (1 day) following the first injections and with later injections. Talk with your HCP if you have any of these signs and symptoms:
- at or near the injection site: redness of the skin, swelling, itching, and pain or
- that may happen when certain substances are released in your body: fever, headache, pain in the muscles, chills, and tiredness.
- Low immunoglobulins. KESIMPTA may cause a decrease in some types of antibodies. Your HCP will do blood tests to check your blood immunoglobulin levels.
The most common side effects of KESIMPTA include:
- Upper respiratory tract infection, with symptoms such as sore throat and runny nose, and headache.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). Accessed June 10, 2022. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/Types-of-MS/Relapsing-remitting-MS
- Guthrie E. Multiple sclerosis: a primer and update. Adv Studies Pharm. 2007;4(11):313-317.
- Kesimpta [prescribing information]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp; 2020.
- Kesimpta patient website. Accessed June 10, 2022. https://www.kesimpta.com/about-kesimpta/see-the-results
- Kesimpta patient website. Accessed June 10, 2022. https://www.kesimpta.com/taking-kesimpta
- Kesimpta patient website. Accessed June 10, 2022. https://www.kesimpta.com/patient-support/financial-resources.
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
East Hanover, New Jersey 07936-1080 © 2022 Novartis 7/22 208759