Ocrevus (ocrelizumab)

Ocrevus, which is the generic name for the pharmaceutical drug, Ocrelizumab, is prescribed to treat relapsing types of multiple sclerosis (MS), such as clinically isolated syndrome, illness, and active secondary progressive disease in individuals with primary progressive MS. 

Ocrevus uses a therapeutic monoclonal antibody that takes a novel approach to treat multiple sclerosis. It targets CD20-positive B cells, a type of immune cell that plays a critical role in the disease. The FDA has approved Ocrevus to treat relapsing or primary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). Ocrevus is administered as an intravenous (IV) infusion once every six months.

Who can take Ocrevus?

Individuals with active relapsing-remitting MS and highly active relapsing-remitting MS who are unable to take Lemtrada may be given Ocrevus.

Contraindications of Ocrevus:

Consult your doctor about any current medications you are taking or underlying illnesses you already have to ensure that this drug will be right for you. If you have severe illnesses such as cancer or serious infections like HIV/AIDS or hepatitis B, you may not be a good candidate for the medication.

Conception and pregnancy:

While you are being treated with Ocrevus, it is advised to abstain from pregnancy. If you are planning for a baby, consult your health care provider for advice concerning your personal situation. During treatment and for 12 months after stopping Ocrevus, women of childbearing age must use a form of contraception.

Administration and Dosage of Ocrevus:

Ocrevus is administered as a biweekly intravenous infusion for two doses, followed by a maintenance dosage for  six months.

Common Side Effects of Ocrevus:

Infections and reactions to infusions are common side effects of Ocrevus. 

Tysabri (Natalizumab)

Tysabri, the generic brand name for the pharmaceutical drug natalizumab is a medication used to treat patients with relapsing forms of MS. It can reduce the frequency of flare-ups and help prevent physical limitations as a result of the disease from rapidly worsening.

The mechanism of Tysbari is different from other multiple sclerosis medications. It prevents white blood cells in the immune system from accessing the brain and spinal cord, which scientists believe plays a key part in the progression of MS’s debilitating symptoms.

The FDA has approved Tysabri as a monotherapy (not to be used in conjunction with other disease-modifying medicines) for the treatment of relapsing types of multiple sclerosis, such as clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease (RRMS), and active secondary progressive disease (ASPD) (SPMS with relapses). 

Administration and Dosage:

Tysabri is administered every four weeks through intravenous infusions.

Common Side Effects:

Adverse side effects of Tysabri include liver dysfunction, allergic reactions, a compromised immune system and low platelet counts. Tysabri may also cause complications if you have certain forms of herpes, leading to severe and possibly fatal, herpes infections. Call your doctor right away if you experience any herpes infections. 

Other side effects of the drug include headache, fatigue, urinary tract infections, joint pain, lung infections, depression, pain in the arms or legs, diarrhea, and vaginitis. Rash, nose and throat infections, nausea, and stomach discomfort are all symptoms of a urinary tract infection. Consult your healthcare provider if any side effects you experience worsen in severity or persist for a long period of time. 

Difference between Ocrevus Vs Tysabri

Monoclonal antibodies such as Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) injection and Tysabri (natalizumab) are used to treat relapse types of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Ocrevus is also used to treat primary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS).

In adults, Tysabri is prescribed to treat moderate to severe Crohn’s disease. Tysabri is frequently used when previous Crohn’s disease drugs have failed to treat the illness effectively. Monoclonal antibodies like Ocrevus and Tysabri are two different kinds. Tysabri is a recombinant humanised IgG4, a monoclonal antibody, and Ocrevus, a CD20-directed cytolytic antibody.

Depression is a common side effect of both Ocrevus and Tysabri. Infections like upper and lower respiratory tract infections, infusion reactions (such as itching, rash, hives, redness, bronchospasm, throat irritation and swelling, mouth pain, shortness of breath, flushing, hypotension, fever, fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, and fast heart rate), skin problems, backache, and pain in the legs and feet are all side effects of Ocrevus that do not occur with Tysabri.

Headache, tiredness, joint or muscle pain, redness or irritation at the injection site, swelling hands/feet/ankles, changes in the menstrual cycle, painful menstrual cramps, stomach pain, diarrhea, skin rash, and cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, or sore throat are all side effects of Tysabri.

Both Ocrevus and Tysabri have the potential to interact with other immune-modulating or immunosuppressive medicines, such as immunosuppressive corticosteroids, chemotherapy, or radiation.

What drugs interact with Ocrevus?

Interaction of Ocrevus can occur when it is taken in combination with other immunosuppressive agents and immune-modulating therapies such as immunosuppressant doses of corticosteroids. It is essential to consult your doctor about all the supplements and medications you are currently using to prevent any drug complications, 

What drugs interact with Tysabri?

Interactions of Tysabri can occur when it is taken in combination with  medicines that may affect the immune system like sirolimus, interferon cyclosporine, azathioprine, tacrolimus, mofetil, muromonab-CD3, leflunomide, basiliximab, etanercept, radiation treatment and chemotherapy.

How should Ocrevus be taken?

Before starting Ocrevus, you must undergo a hepatitis B virus test. Before each infusion, take methylprednisolone (or a comparable corticosteroid) and an antihistamine. The initial dose of Ocrevus is a 300 mg intravenous infusion, followed by a second 300 mg intravenous infusion two weeks later, and a 600 mg intravenous infusion every six months after that. 

How should Tysabri be taken?

300mg is the suggested dose of Tysabri for Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis through intravenous infusion over one hour every four weeks.

Allergies are a prevalent cause of diseases that can strike anyone. Allergies can be caused by various factors, including pollen, diet, and medicine, making it difficult to determine the proper home remedies and best treatments.

Treatment of Allergic Reactions

Home remedies and over-the-counter drugs are valuable options to prevent and treat many allergic reactions that can range from mild to severe. Different treatment options are available and commonly used to alleviate allergic symptoms. Treatment options for allergies and immunology continue to expand, thanks mainly to a medicine family known as biologics. These drugs, which are derived from living organisms, can target specific components of the immune system and prevent inflammation, which can cause several illnesses.

Biologics are monoclonal antibodies or drugs administered as a shot or as an IV infusion. They are blood proteins generated by humans. They are created by experts utilizing cells from living species. Biologics bind to components of your immune system that cause asthmatic inflammation and suppress it. Biologics reduce the precise, focused immune response, allowing asthma to be controlled without needing a broader immunosuppressive drug like prednisone, which has numerous adverse effects.

The following are the biologics used for the treatment of allergies.

Xolair (omalizumab)

The first and only biologic medicine to be authorized by the FDA was Xolair in 2003 to treat moderate-to-severe persistent allergic asthma.

Xolair is a prescription medication used to treat Allergic Asthma and Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria symptoms (CIU). Xolair can be taken alone or in combination with other drugs.

Xolair belongs to the Monoclonal Antibodies, Anti-asthmatics family of medicines.

The effectiveness and safety of Xolair is unclear in children under six.

Suspension culture of Chinese hamster ovary cells in a nutritional medium with the antibiotic gentamicin leads to the production of Xolair. The presence of gentamicin in the finished product is undetectable. Xolair is given as a subcutaneous injection (SC) in a single-use vial of sterile, white, preservative-free lyophilized powder reconstituted with Sterile Water for Injection (SWFI) USP.

XOLAIR is mainly prescribed for adults and children aged 6 and up who have moderate to severe persistent asthma, also indicated in those individuals where symptoms are not managed well with inhaled corticosteroids. Moreover, in people who have a positive skin test or in vitro reactivity to a perennial aeroallergen.

Individuals with chronic idiopathic urticaria or adults and adolescents 12 years of age who remain symptomatic despite H1 antihistamine therapy should take Xolair.

Dupixent (dupilumab)

Dupixent is a member of the class of drugs known as monoclonal antibodies. These medications target a particular area of the immune system.

The available forms of Dupixent in the market include prefilled single-dose syringes and pens. It is administered with a subcutaneous injection (under your skin). Dupixent is available in two doses: 200 mg/1.14 mL and 300 mg/2 mL solutions.

When topical treatments for atopic dermatitis are insufficient or inappropriate, Dupixent can be prescribed to patients aged 12 and up with mild to severe atopic dermatitis. If the patient’s condition is serious, the drug can also be administered to children aged 6 to 1. In individuals 6 years or older whose asthma is not well controlled by a combination of medications, Dupixent can be prescribed for maintenance treatment for severe asthma and when a combination of medicines does not control asthma well. Dupixent is exclusively prescribed for individuals who have a kind of airway inflammation known as ‘type 2 inflammation.’

Nucala (mepolizumab)

Mepolizumab is a first-in-class monoclonal antibody that targets IL-5 that was authorized in 2015 for chronic eosinophilic asthma. It reduces blood eosinophils without eliminating them by inhibiting IL-5 from attaching to its receptor on the surface of eosinophils.

Mepolizumab is a drug designed and sold under the brand name Nucala in the US, Europe, and over 20 other markets as an add-on maintenance medication for patients with severe eosinophilic asthma to treat disorders associated with eosinophil inflammation. It has been examined in over 3,000 patients in 21 clinical trials spanning a variety of eosinophilic indications (SEA). In Europe and the United States, it is licensed to treat severe eosinophilic asthma in children aged six to seventeen.

It is mainly used for polyangiitis therapy for elderly patients with eosinophilic granulomatosis.

It can also be used for the treatment of hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES) in adults and children aged 12 and above for 6 months without an identified non-hematologic secondary cause.

In individuals 18 years and older, it is prescribed as maintenance therapy for chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) for those who have not responded to nasal corticosteroids.

Fasenra (benralizumab)

The FDA approved FASENRA in 2017. It is a biologic that may help individuals with severe eosinophilic asthma who have not shown improvement with existing prescription drugs. FASENRA is an asthma medication used to treat individuals with eosinophilic asthma. Eosinophils are white blood cells that help the immune system fight diseases and parasites.

FASENRA is the first and only respiratory biologic to incorporate Q8W maintenance dosing with at-home or in-office administration choices, resulting in the minimum injections per year for patients. The prefilled syringes and prefilled pens of FASENRA are available as a solution for injection. However, it must be sold on a prescription, and physicians with expertise in diagnosing and treating severe asthma should begin therapy.

The suggested dosage is 30 mg injected beneath the skin of the thighs or abdomen once every four weeks for the first three doses and once every eight weeks after that. The injection must be injected beneath the skin of the upper arm if delivered by a doctor or caregiver.  It’s used to supplement a combination of high-dose inhaled corticosteroids and drugs known as long-acting beta-agonists in individuals with severe asthma who aren’t getting enough relief. The active ingredient in FASENRA is Benralizumab.

FASENRA should only be used under the supervision of a medical expert. In addition, patients should be monitored after receiving biological medicines, as advised by clinical practice. After getting suitable training in subcutaneous injection techniques and a healthcare practitioner certifying that it is acceptable, patients/caregivers may use the FASENRA Pen.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the body’s immune system is fighting against itself. Immunity is the body’s natural defense against a foreign intruder, such as a virus, bacterium, or damage. Chronic inflammation is triggered when the immune system is overactive. RA is a kind of arthritis that mostly affects joints, wrists, hands, and knees–but may also harm internal organs, including the circulatory system. In addition, rheumatoid arthritis damages the lining of joints and connective tissue (known as the synovial membrane), leading to swelling that may lead to bone erosion and joint degeneration in the long run.

Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Medical professionals and experts don’t fully understand the condition because of its complicated nature.

Initially, the signs of RA include joint swelling, pain, and stiffness, which often appear gradually and subtly, with symptoms accumulating progressively over weeks to months and worsening over time. In addition, the tiny hand bones (especially those at the base and middle of the fingers), the base of the toes, and the wrists are often affected by RA. According to the Arthritis Foundation, morning stiffness that lasts 30 minutes or more is another sign of RA.

RA is a condition that worsens with time. When RA includes inflammation that cannot be managed, it may spread to other body regions, leading to various serious catastrophic problems that can impact other organs, including the nerves, heart, and lungs, and create considerable long-term damage. Therefore, if you’re having RA symptoms, it’s critical to see your medical professional as soon as possible to get the therapy you need.

Risk factors for RA

Experts and researchers have studied various factors, including environmental and genetic, regarding the risk of developing RA.

The following are the risk factors that increase the chances of RA:

Smoking

As we know, smoking is harmful to health. Similarly, cigarette smoking leads to the development of RA and may be a risk factor to worsen the disease.

Age

You may suffer from RA at any age, although it becomes more likely as you become older. The chances of getting RA are higher in people more than 60 years of age. 

Gender

The occurrence of RA was seen as higher (two-to-three times) in women compared to men.

Genetics/inherited traits

The risk of developing RA is higher in people born with specific genes. These genes may aggravate RA and are commonly known as HLA (human leukocyte antigen) class II genotypes. When persons with these genes are exposed to environmental variables like smoking or obesity, the risk of RA increases.

History of live births

The risk of developing RA is high in women who have never given birth. 

Early Life Exposures

Early childhood events may enhance the likelihood of having RA later in life. According to research studies, children whose moms smoked had a twofold increased chance of developing RA. In addition, children of lower-income parents are more likely to get RA.

Obesity

Obesity might raise your chances of acquiring RA. Obesity has a role in RA development, as per research. The more overweight a person is, the greater their chance of developing the disease.

Treatments of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Infliximab

Infliximab is a drug mainly prescribed for inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and Crohn’s disease. It is a monoclonal anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha antibody used in inflammatory conditions.

In 1998, the FDA initially authorized infliximab as an intravenous injection and sold it under the brand name Remicade. It was prescribed for inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, in conjunction with methotrexate, psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s disease in adults and children, ulcerative colitis in adults and children, ankylosing spondylitis, and plaque psoriasis. The signs and symptoms of inflammatory disorders were reduced by multiple infusions of infliximab and induced remission in individuals who had an unsatisfactory reaction to other first-line therapy for that ailment in clinical studies.

Benlysta

BELIMUMAB (Benlysta) is a soluble B lymphocyte stimulator-binding human monoclonal antibody. Rheumatoid arthritis is not treated with Benlysta. However, it may be used for RA as off-label medicine. (A medicine is used off-label to treat a disease for which it has not been authorized.) Results of limited research show the beneficial effects of Benlysta in the treatment of RA. However, additional investigations are required to confirm these findings.

Simponi

Simponi (golimumab) is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and is a monoclonal antibody derived from human IgG1k. It also treats ankylosing spondylitis. In addition, Simponi is occasionally used in conjunction with a drug called methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall). Simponi works by preventing the body’s immune system from producing a protein called tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which causes joint swelling and destruction.

The immune system produces a high amount of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory disorders. This may result in joint inflammation, discomfort, and injury. TNF is blocked by anti-TNF medications like golimumab, which reduces inflammation. Golimumab isn’t a painkiller, but it may help you cope with the symptoms of the illness. The improvement in the symptoms may be seen after 8–12 weeks.

Rituxan

The first medicine to target particular B immune cells is Rituxan, which is thought to have a role in inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It was authorized by the FDA two months ago for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis who had failed previous biologic therapy. Rituxan is given as an intravenous infusion.

In recent research, Rituxan, in conjunction with the disease-modifying antirheumatic medication (DMARD) methotrexate, improved symptoms in just over half of RA patients.

Individuals who received modest doses of Rituxan reacted just as well as those who received greater doses and adding steroids to the mix did not seem to enhance results.

ORENCIA

ORENCIA is a drug used to treat moderate to severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and void additional damage to your bones and joints and improve your capacity to do everyday tasks. It is usually used in persons aged 18 and above. ORENCIA might benefit those who aren’t receiving the outcomes they want from other RA medications.

ORENCIA may be taken by adults alone or in combination with other RA therapies such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists, or Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, or biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic medications (bDMARDs).

CIMZIA

CIMZIA is a prescription medicine used in adults to reduce the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease (CD) in adults who have not been treated sufficiently by traditional therapies. It is a Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) blocker. It is recommended to treat rheumatoid arthritis that is moderately to severely active (RA) and Psoriatic arthritis. In addition, CIMZIA is a prescription drug that makes your immune system less effective in fighting infections.

 

What is Fabry disease? 

Fabry disease is a genetic disease that occurs due to a mutation in a gene. An individual who receives this gene is unable to make adequate alpha-galactosidase A, or alpha-GAL, a vital enzyme. Alpha-GAL removes a fatty molecule known as globotriaosylceramide, or GL-3, by breaking it down. There was insufficient production of active alpha-GAL in a patient with Fabry disease, which is why GL-3 accumulates in the cells rather than being eliminated. As GL-3 accumulates in the blood vessels and their walls and other tissues over time, it becomes more and more dangerous. The heart, kidneys, and brain are all major organ systems that may ultimately stop working correctly, posing a life-threatening hazard. In Fabry disease, the most significant symptoms generally appear in the fourth or fifth decade of life. On the other hand, signs and symptoms may arise considerably sooner. The treatment and management of the disease may start early if it is diagnosed early.

Occurrence of Fabry disease

Classic Fabry disease affects around 1 in every 40,000 men. Atypical Fabry disease, also known as Late-onset Fabry disease, is more prevalent. It affects around 1 out of every 1,500 to 4,000 men.

Researchers are still looking into how many women are affected by Fabry disease. The illness remains undetected commonly in women because some females have no symptoms or have minor, easy-to-ignore signs.

Types of Fabry disease

The different kinds of Fabry disease are determined by the age at which symptoms first show. The following are different types:

 Classic type: 

The symptoms of classic Fabry disease first occur in childhood or adolescence. One of the most common symptoms of the condition is a severe burning feeling in the hands and feet, which may start as early as age two. With the passage of time, the symptoms get more severe.

Late-onset/atypical type: 

Symptoms of late-onset Fabry disease don’t appear until people are in their 30s or older. Renal failure or heart disease may be the earliest signs of a problem.

Causes of Fabry Disease

Fabry disease is inherited from one generation to the next.

The main issue is that your body is unable to produce alpha-galactosidase A, an enzyme required for the breakdown of fatty compounds such as oils, waxes, and fatty acids. The patients with Fabry disease either don’t have the enzyme or it isn’t working properly.

Symptoms of Fabry Disease

The following are the symptoms of Fabry disease:

  • Cloudy vision
  • Hearing loss
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Bowel movements, stomach pain
  • Burning and pain in the hands
  • The appearance of small, dark red spots between knees and bellybutton

Management and Treatment of Fabry disease

Fabry disease has no known cure. Medications for pain and gastrointestinal issues may help to alleviate discomfort. There are two therapies that may help to avoid heart issues, renal illness, and other life-threatening effects by slowing the accumulation of fatty substances:

Enzyme replacement therapy:

An intravenous (IV) infusion of agalsidase beta enzyme (Fabrazyme®) prepared in the lab is given every two weeks to the patient. This replacement enzyme performs the functions of the lost alpha-GAL enzyme, preventing the accumulation of fatty compounds. To avoid an allergic reaction, you may be given an antihistamine and other drugs before starting treatment.

Fabrazyme (agalsidase beta) has been selected to treat over 5000 Fabry disease patients throughout the world, independent of the severity of the illness, enzyme activity, or kind of genetic mutation.

Oral chaperone therapy: 

The repairing of the alpha-GAL enzyme can be done by Chaperones, which are tiny molecules that help in the repair process when it is damaged. The fatty material may subsequently be broken down by the repaired enzymes. Every other day, you take a tablet (migalastat [Galafold®]) to stabilise the malfunctioning alpha-GAL enzyme using this medication. This drug is not suitable for everyone with Fabry disease. If you are fit for this medication, it depends on your exact genetic mutation in the GLA gene.

With the help of stem cell technologies and genetic engineering, researchers are actively working to launch new treatments.

 

What is Myasthenia Gravis?

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a chronic autoimmune disorder that has the potential to lead to skeletal muscle weakness. This is due to the antibodies destroying the connection between the muscles and nerves in this disorder. It has an effect on the voluntary muscles of the body, including the throat, mouth, eyes, and limbs. It may hit at any age, yet most probably it affects older men of 50 and younger women of 20 to 30. The exact cause of myasthenia gravis is not known, and it is incurable. However, there is a chance to treat with a medication that may help manage the disease. It may make your life more functional.

Treatment of Myasthenia Gravis with Vyvgart

Vyvgart is a neonatal Fc receptor blocker implied in order to treat myasthenia gravis (gMG) in adult patients who are anti-acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibody positive.

How does Vyvgart works?

Vyvgart is a medication specially designed to attach and block neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn). It results in the decrease of IgG antibodies, including AChR antibodies that lead to severe gMG symptoms. Basically, what happens in FcRn receptors has the tendency to extend the life of IgG antibodies. So, when these receptors are blocked by Vyvgart and decrease the antibodies that play a role in causing MG symptoms, it automatically reduces the dispute between nerve-muscle communication. When AChR antibodies are removed, they are no longer available to cause MS by destroying the communication between nerves and muscles. Therefore, the research presents Vyvgart as effective in order to control Myasthenia gravis and its symptoms.

Administration and dosage of Vyvgart

Vyvgart is administered as an intravenous infusion by a healthcare professional as per a doctor’s directions. Usually, this medication is given over one hour, once weekly, for around 4 weeks. However, its dosage depends upon the medical condition, weight, and the response of the patient to treatment. Roughly, patients with a weight of 120 kg or even more should take around 1200 mg per infusion.

It is recommended by the doctor to dilute Vyvgart IV with 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP before administration. Doctors recommend administering the following treatment cycles that depend upon the clinical evaluation. People who feel complications or do not feel any better after infusions of Vyvgart should contact their physicians as soon as possible.

Overdose

Whenever you take a medicine, make sure you take a correct dosage. Never overdose with the medicine. Similarly, an overdosage of Vyvgart may lead to severe symptoms, including being out of breath. You should undergo medical tests, including CBC, before utilizing this medicine. Try not to take it after storage in the home. It can only be given at the clinic, and accurate dosage can be ensured at the clinic. Follow all precautions before taking any medicines.

Precautions

You should follow all precautions when taking any medication. Otherwise, you may cause more health concerns for yourself.

It is essential to tell your past history of allergies and infections to the pharmacist or doctor before using Vyvgart. If you have other problems, this medication may cause health concerns for you. It has inactive ingredients that lead to problems with other reactions. Therefore, there is a need to tell every medical detail to the doctor.

This medication, no doubt, is effective for MS. However, it has the tendency to cause serious infections or worsen other current or recent infections. Try to avoid contact with the people who currently or recently have chickenpox, flu, or measles. If you are going to have any immunization or vaccination, tell the doctor about your Vyvgart prescription. Try not to be in contact with anyone who has acquired live vaccines recently.

Additionally, it is crucial to discuss Vyvgart before having any surgery. If your other physician recommends you take medicine for any other health concern, tell him about Vyvgart. Never take herbal products, non-prescription drugs, supplements, and vitamins without consulting your doctor.

If you’re pregnant or planning to conceive, let the doctor know about it. Because during pregnancy, it should only be given when badly needed. The risks and advantages of Vyvgart should be discussed with pregnant women. Also, mothers who have used Vyvgart to manage MG during or right before pregnancy should consult their doctor about vaccinations for newborns. The research is not evident whether the drug passes into breast milk or not. However, if you’re breastfeeding, always tell your doctor.

FDA approved

The efficacy and safety of Vyvgart has been evaluated before approval. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Vyvgart in order to treat myasthenia gravis (gMG). They have observed the clinical study of 26 weeks with 167 patients of myasthenia gravis. The study shows that patients with MG with antibodies were more likely to respond well to the treatment during the first cycle of Vyvgart. The FDA has confirmed the efficacy of this medication after clinical trials. They have also observed the side effects. Let’s have a look at the side effects.

Side effects

Medications come with both their pros and cons. Here are the common yet severe side effects of Vyvgart.

Common side effects include:

  • Muscle pain, numbness, and tingling on the skin
  • Severe sore throat
  • Burning and painful urination
  • Fever
  • Chill and cough
  • Rash and itching on tongue and face
  • Dizziness and difficulty in breathing

These side effects occur as the medication reduces the ability of a person to fight infections. It eventually makes you more prone to having other infections. Therefore, if you feel any of these symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.

Infection

Vyvgart is more inclined to elevate the risk of infection. The research shows that people taking Vyvgart are more prone to having urinary tract infections and respiratory tract infections. Most of the infections and hematologic abnormalities caused by Vyvgart are mild to moderate. Those who have an active infection should delay the dosage of this medication as it may lead to more severe consequences. Patients should try to monitor their clinical signs of infections while being treated with Vyvgart.

 

Learn more about Vyvgart.

What is Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (aHUS)?

Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (aHUS) is a rare disease that affects kidney function. It leads to abnormal blood clots (thrombi) forming in the small blood vessels in the kidneys. Severe medical problems can be caused by these clots if they block or restrict blood flow. Atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome is primarily characterized by three significant features concerning abnormal clotting. Those three features include hemolytic anemia, kidney failure, and thrombocytopenia. It can happen at any age.

A person with aHUS may experience severe complications as this disease leads the body to develop many blood clots. It ultimately causes the blood to flow slowly to other important organs. These complications include kidney damage, kidney failure, high blood pressure, heart disease, or even heart attack.

Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome is a complex disorder that can be caused due to various factors. These include environmental, genetic, and immunological factors. There’s no proper cure, but treatments are available to deal with Atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome. Let’s explore the effective treatments for atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Treatments

Here are the most effective treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Soliris (Eculizumab)

Soliris® (Eculizumab) is defined as a monoclonal antibody that is preferred to treat atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS). It is given to the patient through intravenous infusion. Doctors may recommend it for 4 weeks pursued by the 5th dose 1 week afterward and then every 2 weeks subsequently. Basically, Soliris is a first-in-class terminal complement inhibitor that is used to target uncontrolled complement activation. It is prescribed for patients with atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome to inhibit complement-mediated TMA. FDA has approved it for the treatment of aHUS. Long-term renal and TMA outcomes can be enhanced and improved in patients with atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome by Soliris. The research shows that Soliris has been effective in patients with aHUS.

The Isaac an Abt MD Professor of Kidney Diseases, Craig B. Langman, M.D., Head of Kidney Diseases, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, has stated that Soliris has significantly reduced the TMA process in clinical trials. This process is responsible for renal impairment, thrombosis, angina, and seizures in patients with aHUS. When this is markedly lowered, it shows a significant efficiency in aHUS patients. They further added that this therapy is efficient in restoring kidney function.

The research has shown that Soliris has the tendency to enhance red blood cell count and platelets. It tends to reverse acute kidney damage and may prevent kidney failure. It is effective when taken not too late into a diagnosis.

Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome is a life-threatening disease that can be transformed significantly with the help of Soliris. It does not just work for the patients with aHUS but is also used to treat Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria, Generalized Myasthenia Gravis, and Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder.

It is necessary for the patient to tell their medical history to their doctor. If you have aHUS and you go to the doctor for treatment, you should tell them about your current condition, because Soliris can cause severe kinds of allergic reactions. So, those who have a history of allergic reactions are less likely to adopt this treatment. Patients who undergo Shiga toxin E. coli hemolytic uremic syndrome (STEC-HUS) can’t be prescribed Soliris.

Basically, Soliris is not a therapy that can be prescribed to everyone. It has limitations of allergy, pregnancy, and other severe diseases. The research has not found any adverse effects of Soliris in pregnant women, though doctors think twice before prescribing it to them.

Ultomiris (Ravulizumab)

Ultomiris® (Ravulizumab) is a humanized monoclonal antibody that is used to treat patients with atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS). This therapy inhibits complement protein C5 that proves to be effective in aHUS patients. Many countries, including the USA, have adopted Ultomiris® (Ravulizumab) as a treatment of aHUS.

Basically, Ultomiris and Soliris are not so different because Ravulizumab has been re-engineered by eculizumab. Both Soliris and Ultomiris inhibit the cleavage of the complement factor, which helps them prevent the formation of complex clots within blood vessels. These therapies eventually help extend the terminal elimination half-life. Its maintenance dosage regimen is 4-8 weeks. Ultomiris is also given through an intravenous drip (infusion). The frequency and the dose of the therapy depend upon the age and the body weight of the patient. Adult and pediatric patients can easily tolerate Ultomiris as it resolves TMA and has a similar mechanism to Soliris. However, its duration of action is 4-fold longer. It was eventually considered as a reliable treatment option for patients with atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome.

The research has shown that Ultomiris has proven to be efficient in patients with postpartum aHUS. Doctors may start the treatment with eculizumab and later shift to Ravulizumab. Its safety is enhanced. There are no unexpected safety events seen in the clinical trials.

Patients usually tolerate Ultomiris well, but as every therapy has adverse effects, so does Ultomiris. These are minor adverse effects, including diarrhea, headache, and vomiting. It is one of the most well-known, reliable, and efficient treatments for adults and pediatric patients of atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Living with aHUS

Cases of aHUS are not similar, which makes it difficult for a doctor to understand the exact condition. Those who experience aHUS symptoms should go to a kidney doctor (nephrologist) or a blood doctor (hematologist). They will assess and monitor a patient’s current condition. If you have aHUS, you may need to follow regular blood tests to check your kidney health, red blood cells, and platelet count on a regular basis.

What is Psoriatic Arthritis?

Psoriatic arthritis is an arthritis form that influences people with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a disease that often leads to red patches of skin dotted with silvery scales. People who have gone through psoriasis at some point in their life are more likely to develop psoriatic arthritis. The main indications of psoriatic arthritis included stiffness, joint pain, and swelling. If you experience this, any body part can be affected, including your spine, fingertips, etc. Its impact varies and moves from mild to severe gradually. Disease flares can rotate with episodes of remission in both psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis.

Let’s discover more facts about psoriatic arthritis related to its symptoms and treatments.

Symptoms

Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis both have their own impact on the body. The symptoms worsen with the passage of time. Sometimes, symptoms go away for a short period of time and come back even stronger. Other times, they may improve gradually, it varies from person to person.

Your single joint or both joints may be affected due to psoriatic arthritis. Those who know about rheumatoid arthritis know that their symptoms are quite similar, including swollen and painful joints, foot pain, lower back pain, swollen fingers and toes, nail changes, eye inflammation, among others. Therefore, if you feel any of these symptoms, you may have rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis. You should consult a healthcare professional to know your current condition. However, there is no hard and fast cure for psoriatic arthritis, yet treatments are available to control the symptoms and reduce the episodes of remission.

Treatments

You need to get these treatments right after you are diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. Otherwise, psoriatic arthritis is more likely to lead to debilitating symptoms.

REMICADE® (Infliximab) to treat Psoriatic Arthritis

Remicade and Renflexis are often prescribed to treat the chronic inflammatory autoimmune condition. Psoriatic arthritis is also an autoimmune disease as it can be caused by the attack of the body’s immune system on healthy cells and tissues. These are biological medications.

A doctor can comprehend the current condition of a patient and recommend treatments accordingly. They don’t recommend REMICADE® (infliximab) before knowing the history and situation of the patient. Most frequently, it has side effects. It can lower a patient’s ability to fight infections. Doctors can prescribe it to treat many diseases, including TB, Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Pediatric Ulcerative Colitis, Pediatric Crohn’s Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, and of course, Psoriatic Arthritis.

Those who have severe psoriatic arthritis but no dangerous history of any other disease can take this medication as per the doctor’s prescription. REMICADE® (infliximab) can help to reduce the signs and indications of active arthritis. A patient may suffer from joint pain, lower back pain, and many other physical problems. This medication helps lower joint damage. It tries to prevent fats from moving symptoms. It strengthens physical function, especially in adult patients with psoriatic arthritis.

Aged patients usually have other severe problems like cancers, nervous system disorders, TB infections, etc. Therefore, doctors avoid giving this medication to them. Remicade can cause serious side effects, including headache, or respiratory infections, including sinus infections and sore throat. It can also cause severe coughing and stomach pain. However, if you are eligible to take this medicine, it can be very effective in treating psoriatic arthritis and reducing symptoms.

RENFLEXIS® (Infliximab-abda) – Biosimilar- Recommended for Psoriatic Arthritis

Those who have been prescribed Remicade often hear about Biosimilars. Biosimilars are made of the same amino acid materials. They also contain particular processes, like other reference medicines. So Renflexis is biosimilar to Remicade.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved this medicine. Renflexis has the tendency to treat autoimmune diseases similar to Remicade. Their processing and functions are quite the same. The dosages and way of consuming are prescribed similarly. Therefore, the effectiveness shown by Remicade is similar, as are the side effects.

How do they work?

The immune system tends to produce a specific protein called tumor necrosis factor-alpha, or TNF-alpha excessively, with the health condition. This overproduction leads you to inflammation and provokes the symptoms of your autoimmune diseases. Renflexis performs its function by blocking the action of TNF-alpha and inhibiting symptoms that initiate inflammation.

Doctors prescribe Renflexis as an intravenous (IV) infusion just like Remicade. Doctors don’t recommend this medication to those whose previous medical history is not clear. For example, if they have TB, cancers, infections, allergies, nervous system disorders, or any other serious diseases. Because if they give it without knowing the current condition of a patient, it may provide fewer benefits and more disadvantages. It can cause respiratory problems, headaches, coughing, and many others. Those who have a clear medical history and have not been in contact with these severe diseases are more likely to have positive effects from Renflexis. They can improve their joints, and it may help reduce their symptoms caused by psoriatic arthritis.

SIMPONI ARIA® (Golimumab) For Psoriatic Arthritis

SIMPONI ARIA® (golimumab) is an immunosuppressive drug. It is often prescribed to decrease the inflammation of the body. It has the tendency to treat several autoimmune diseases, including psoriatic arthritis.

Nurses administer Simponi Aria® (Golimumab) as an intravenous (IV) infusion. It helps lower the symptoms of arthritis, including pain, fatigue, joint swelling, stiffness, and inflammation caused by psoriatic arthritis.

If you have psoriatic arthritis, be sure to visit your doctor and tell them about your medical history. Don’t hide your previous health conditions because if they recommend this medication and you have an infection or allergy, it may cause many side effects. Yet, if you’re clear, it will help you get rid of flare-up episodes of autoimmune diseases and lower the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Try to visit your doctor on a regular basis, so they can monitor whether the drugs are bringing about any improvement.

Understanding autoimmune diseases

The immune system is built to protect a person from pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and foreign particles. Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s natural defense can’t differentiate between the body’s own cells and foreign cells. The body attacks the normal cells by mistake. More than 100 types of autoimmune diseases affect different body parts. Diagnosis of autoimmune diseases is challenging due to early symptoms, including joint pain, fatigue, digestive issues, etc. The conditions due to autoimmune diseases vary from person to person: some experience temporary circumstances, while others have lifelong conditions. Autoimmune diseases tend to lead to severe infections, diseases, and even death. Usually, autoimmune diseases do not go away, but the patient can manage the symptoms.

Autoimmune response

Autoimmune response may be generated due to several reasons in different ways. An autoimmune reaction may occur when a foreign particle looks similar to the body’s own cells. It can also be created by the modification of the normal body cells; for instance, if a virus modifies the normal cell of the body, the immune system cannot recognize the normal cell. The immune system considers it a foreign particle, such as a virus, and attacks.

Sometimes, b cell lymphocytes, the immune cells, make antibodies start producing abnormal antibodies. They eventually attack the body’s normal cells. These are various reasons that may initiate an autoimmune response.

Let’s explore more about autoimmune diseases.

Types of autoimmune diseases

  • Organ-specific autoimmune diseases

Single or multiple organs can be affected by autoimmune diseases. Some organ-specific autoimmune diseases are:

  • Psoriasis

In psoriasis, skin cells rapidly grow by the stimulation of the immune system activity. Scaly and silvery plaques grow on the skin, which is known as plaque psoriasis. Psoriasis treatment is based on the severity of the condition and its type.

  • Multiple Sclerosis

In Multiple Sclerosis (MS), nerve cells are attacked by the immune system and do not let the nerve work properly. A patient with MS may experience blindness, pain, muscle spasms, weakness, and poor coordination. It leads to severe numbness and tingling, and many other symptoms. MS can be treated by medication that can help in suppressing the immune system.

  • Systemic autoimmune diseases

Some systemic autoimmune diseases include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system generates antibodies that link to the linings of joints. Joints will be attacked by the immune system and lead to severe swelling, pain, and inflammation. The joint damage can last permanently if left untreated. Therefore, it is necessary to treat RA on time with the help of injectable or oral medications to limit the over-activity of the immune system.

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

In inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the lining of the intestines is attacked by the immune system, which leads to severe rectal bleeding, episodes of diarrhea, emergency bowel movements, fever, abdominal pain, and weight loss. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two most significant forms of inflammatory bowel disease. IBD can be treated by injected and oral immune-suppressing medication.

Causes

Many factors are associated with autoimmune diseases, but the exact cause of autoimmune diseases is still unknown. Assessed causes of autoimmune diseases are:

  • Lifestyle and environmental factors

Lifestyle and environmental factors are associated with and cause various kinds of autoimmune diseases. People who are highly exposed to antigens are more inclined to have overactive immune responses. Lack of vitamin D, higher exposure to chemicals, lack of sunlight, and many other factors lead to different sorts of autoimmune diseases.

Lifestyle has a significant role in increasing the risk of autoimmune diseases. People who smoke are more vulnerable to rheumatoid arthritis. An unhealthy diet high in sugar, protein, fat, and salt enhances the chance of autoimmune diseases. All of these factors add up in boosting autoimmune diseases.

  • Inheritance

Autoimmune diseases have the tendency to run in generations and are inherited from parents and ancestors. Mutation in a single gene can cause autoimmune diseases.

  • Infectious diseases

Infectious diseases are one of the reasons for autoimmune diseases. When pathogenic components look similar to the proteins in the body, autoimmunity may happen. The immune system gets confused by the body’s own cells and any outside cells of the body.

Symptoms

Different organs can be affected by autoimmune diseases, and their symptoms vary. The most common symptoms of autoimmune diseases include fatigue, weight changes, fever, muscle spasms, rashes on the skin, inflammation, dizziness, and digestive problems. These are the general symptoms that appear when a person is affected by autoimmune diseases. Some autoimmune diseases like MS may display numbness and tingling as indications of infection.

How to treat autoimmune diseases?

Each particular disease with a specific organ affected has its own treatment. Sometimes, immune-suppressing medications are supposed to be the best treatment for autoimmune diseases. Many conditions get severe if left untreated, like rheumatoid arthritis. The time of the course of treatment depends on the severity of the condition.

Usually, there is a need to manage symptoms, or control inflammation with the help of medication such as corticosteroids or biological drugs. For severe joint pain in rheumatoid arthritis, there is a need to handle symptoms. Doctors usually prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) to relieve joint pain.

Complications need to be prevented, such as blood sugar should be controlled in patients experiencing type 1 diabetes. It is how patients can reduce complications. Also, a healthy lifestyle needs to be maintained in order to treat autoimmune diseases.

How to cope with autoimmune diseases

  • Lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle is crucial to beat autoimmune diseases. One should try to have at least 8 hours of sleep and relax the mind. Stress makes a person more inclined to health issues. Thus, stress management is needed to cope with autoimmune diseases. Exercise can help to lower stress and anxiety. It makes a person more vulnerable to live a physically and mentally healthy life and deal with autoimmune diseases.

  • Healthy diet

Diet plays a significant role. It can help in reducing the risk of autoimmune diseases, especially for diabetic patients. They need a regular check on their diet. Patients with autoimmune diseases should try to promote healthy gut bacteria.

  • Know your triggers

Different diseases have some triggers in which food or other factors may play a role. A person with any specific autoimmune disease should know his catalysts and try to lessen the exposure to those triggers.

At Speciality Infusion Centers, we specialize in managing chronic conditions and work with you, your insurance carrier, and your doctor to provide a personalized treatment plan. Find the most convenient location for starting infusion therapy today.

According to IQVIA, Americans paid $67 billion in out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions filled by retail pharmacies in 2019. 

Unfortunately, a variety of factors including growing technology, chronic conditions, and obesity continue to drive up drug prices in addition to new medications and increased use of high-cost meds year after year. The cost of prescriptions is one of the fastest-growing components of rising healthcare costs in the United States. 

With COVID-19 adding another level of complexity to healthcare, employers are finding it even more challenging than pre-pandemic to cut costs while still providing quality health care benefits to their employees. 

As a result, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) are becoming more and more popular.  

What are Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs)?

PBMs have been around a lot longer than many realize. When insurance companies added prescription drugs to many health care benefits in the 1960s, the PBM role was created. Initially, PBMs would process claims for insurance claims. However, their role has evolved tremendously over the years. 

The role of a Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM)

Today, PBMs are third-party administrators contracted by employers to provide prescription drug benefit management to their employees. They are also responsible for:

  • examining claims 
  • developing and managing pharmacy networks
  • negotiating discounts and rebates with drug manufacturers
  • developing and maintaining drug formularies
  • establishing co-pays
  • setting criteria for prior authorizations and the patient’s choice of pharmacy

In addition, a PBM provides resources and programs created to assist members in maintaining/improving their overall health. Working side by side with the member and their healthcare provider, a PBM can ensure the medications members take are safe and effective for their health conditions.

PBM companies in the United States

More than 80 PBM companies currently in the US offer consumers a wide range of drug plan options.

However, the healthcare system’s complexity combined with the urge to consolidate negotiating power has caused several PBMs, insurance companies, and pharmacies to merge. 

Coincidentally, the top three PBM companies as of 2020 are:

What employers need to know about working with a PBM

If you are an employer, working with PBMs allows you to improve prescription medication use, lower health care costs, and improve patient quality of care for your employees. 

From the beginning, you should expect your PBM to work with you to build the ideal pharmacy benefit plan for your employees by choosing:

Once your plan is finalized, your PBM can distribute benefits and familiarize employees with their health care coverage. Educational resources often include call centers, websites, and apps to easily access information about co-pays for different medications, pharmacies currently in-network, etc. 

How PBMs work with insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and pharmacies

PBMs help insurance companies manage costs by negotiating with pharmaceutical manufacturers for discounts on medications. PBMs get the manufacturer’s drugs in front of millions of customers in exchange.

They also negotiate contracts with pharmacies to build networks of retail pharmacies for prescription drug distribution. 

Value of working with Pharmacy Benefit Managers 

Cost Savings

There are several ways PBMs create cost-savings:

  • Negotiating discounts with pharmacies
  • Offering cost-effective options such as pharmacy mail order fulfillment
  • Guiding plan participants to more generic and lower-cost brands

Insight & understanding

PBMs can provide the employers they are working with reports about medicine utilization. This information helps decrease drug waste while supporting medication compliance 

Up-to-date knowledge and expertise

Since PBMs are working directly with insurance and pharmaceutical companies, they can stay current with changes in prescription drugs. Employers then have the advantage of knowing industry changes in pricing, safety, and effectiveness. 

Final thoughts

The continual increase in prescription drug costs will emphasize managing the prescription drug benefit for employers.

It’s critical for companies to understand the role of their PBM, how they fit into their overall spending, and changes needed to their current health care plans to ensure that their members are constantly receiving the best possible care at the lowest possible cost.

At Speciality Infusion Centers, we specialize in managing chronic conditions and work with you, your insurance carrier, and your doctor to provide a personalized treatment plan. Find the most convenient location for starting infusion therapy today.