If your doctor has suggested Ocrevus you are certainly moving up the ladder of disease modifying drugs for multiple sclerosis. With each of the IV drugs especially come side effect risks. Ocrevus is no exception. The most serious they show is:
Risk of cancers (malignancies) including breast cancer. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions about standard screening guidelines for breast cancer.
That’s a pretty serious risk to consider. They also talk about PML Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy. This is the brain infection caused by the JC virus that causes fatalities or severe disabilities. Where no cases have been seen with Ocrevus, it is still listed as a possible side effect. This is some serious stuff!!!
The major side effect Ocrevus shows which is more common is risk of getting upper respiratory tract infections, lower respiratory tract infections, skin infections, and herpes infections. Ocrevus will wipe out your immune fighting B cells so this isn’t fully unexpected.
The decision to take a drug like this has to weigh the pros and cons. You have to make a decision both with your outside support and your doctor.
I’ve been on Ocrevus for a year and a half and I was on its sister Rituxan prior for a year and a half. I made the switch hoping that it would slow down my progression as well as stopping relapses. I am both relapsing remitting and secondary progressive. Yet I keep progressing. Do I need to be on something so strong that isn’t slowing down the progressing? Would I be progressing faster if I wasn’t on this drug? The other drugs like Tysabri was stopping my relapses as well but we moved to Rituxan and Ocrevus because it showed some evidence of slowing MS progression. Here I am 3 years later worse than 3 years back but I might have been even worse if I stayed with Tysabri. Who knows. These are the questions I will ask my specialist next month. I myself am starting to wonder if I need to be on this drug still.