Ocrevus vs Rituxan

Ocrevus vs Rituxan

My infusion scheduled for March 17. I’ve been on many of the disease modifying MS drugs over my 23 year span with the disease. Betaseron still holds the record of 12 years but that also has to do with the drugs that were available when I first got diagnosed. I have been on either Rituxan or Ocrevus since 2016. I group these two drugs together for very specific reasons, they are fundamentally the same. The biggest difference is Rituxan is a chemically based antibody and Ocrevus is a humanized antibody.

Our lovely pharmaceutical companies always looking to help the patients, not. It’s a business to make money and of course line their pockets. Rituxan was originally developed to help with various forms of cancer. As more was learned about autoimmune diseases and MS, scientists saw the benefits to slowing progression by blocking T-cells or B-cells in the immune system. Rituxan blocked B-cells, that was its main function. Doctors started prescribing it to MS patients. The drug was already around, FDA approved since 1998. However not technically approved for MS, that would need clinical trials.

There was one problem,

Patents on the drug in expired in Europe in February 2013 and in the US in September 2016.[51] By November 2018https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rituximab

The pharmacy tweaked Rituxan created Ocrevus and put that drug through the clinical trials. Now approved for MS with a brand new patent and a high price tag.

I started on Rituxan, switch to Ocrevus, because insurance wouldn’t approve Rituxan, and then finally switched back to Rituxan again. For me the reasonings were more because there’s a longer medicine history with Rituxan than Ocrevus.  Ocrevus lists some possible increased risks that Rituxan doesn’t like breast cancer. Even though these risks are very small, these drugs are just too similar that I don’t even need to be taking the risk.Rituxan is dosed the same as Ocrevus. Same infusion side effects. Two very similar drugs with very different dollar signs.

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