OCREVUS (Ocrelizumab) is the new approved drug for the treatment of patients with relapsing or primary progressive forms of multiple sclerosis. I’ve been on Rituxan, the sister drug to Ocrevus, for over a year. The comparison on the drugs is mostly illustrated in my blog post here…
I made the error thinking same company, basically same drug, easy transition….NOT!!!
Last Friday I found out that my infusion place that I was receiving the Rituxan from, WILL NOT be doing Ocrevus infusions. They aren’t going to be trained. My doctor’s requested that I get the infusion done in NYC again, as I did when I started Rituxan. Normally I wouldn’t have a problem, but I don’t drive that far, my step dad takes off from work to take me, it’s a very long day, and just like the infusion for Rituxan, this infusion is done once and then two weeks later it is done again. (I should make a sidebar note here that from this point forward Ocrevus is a once every six month whereas Rituxan always follows the same 2 week apart protocol.) The idea of going to the city for my infusion was the beginning of the mess. I also had to get an appointment made.
I called the first time, and after I gave my information and appointment requirements, I was told the computer froze she’d have to call me right back. Ten minutes later, NO CALL, shocking. I call again. This time they tell me I can’t make an appointment until my doctor puts the orders into the computer for me to receive Ocrevus. I called the doctor’s assistant, got a voicemail. Sent an email. In the reply email I’m told that the doctor will put the orders in as soon as she receives the blood work back. BLOOD WORK? When was I asked for blood work. Mind you this is all happening between the hours of 4-5 on Friday. I’m now closing in on the 5 o’clock hour when I get “I’ll have the doctor send a prescription for blood tests to you on Tuesday”. I saw my doctor about changing to Ocrevus on June 2, this was always the plan. I am just finding out about blood work now!! Very frustrating.
On top of everything else, insurance approval doesn’t start until the orders are in the system and an appointment is made. All I can say is WTF!!!! My next infusion is supposed to be on July 17. I’m willing to bet it will be Rituxan again. I don’t think we will be ready to transition even with the full 7 weeks we gave.