General Information

Ocrelizumab is a prescription used to treat:

This type of condition affects the brain and spinal cord. In which it occurs when your immune system starts to attack the myelin that coats and protects your nerve fibers. The symptoms differ for everyone, depending on the area and extent of the nerve damage. Some symptoms may include:

  • Numbness
  • Vision problems
  • Tingling
  • Muscle spasms
  • Spasticity
  • Weakness
  • Pain
  • Difficulty moving or walking
  • Fatigue

People with all forms of MS experience disease activity. It is the inflammation in the nervous system and permanent loss of nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, or optic nerves. Disease activity causes lesions in the brain. In which it can be measured with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Most people with these conditions continue to experience disease activity and worsening disability. An important goal of treating the illness is to slow the progression of disability.

For some, symptoms deteriorate over time, while for others they come and go in periods of relapse and remission. This medication is not a cure for these conditions, but it is thought to help slow down nerve damage. This may as well reduce the number of relapses and may delay the disability.

Ocrelizumab is a recombinant humanized monoclonal antibody directed against CD20-expressing B-cells. This is a glycosylated immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1). Engagement of CD20 causes cell lysis resulting in B cell depletion. In which it may be beneficial in auto-immune conditions mediated by autoantibodies. B cells or also known as B lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell subtype. They function in the humoral immunity component of the adaptive immune system by secreting antibodies. This prescription was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017. This product is supplied in single-dose vials. This is a preservative-free, sterile, clear or slightly opalescent, and colorless to a pale brown solution. Each mL of solution contains 30 mg of Ocrelizumab.

How does Ocrelizumab work?

Ocrelizumab is a monoclonal antibody. In which it is a type of drug developed to attack specific targets in the immune system. It has been designed to target a particular marker (CD20) on the surface of B cells.

Your immune system makes special cells that attack and kill viruses and bacteria. In RRMS and PPMS, these cells attack your nerves by mistake. This drug sticks to one type of these cells called B cells and helps kill them. This stops them from getting into your brain and spinal cord. Wherein, they would attack the myelin covering around your nerves. This stops inflammation and damage to the nerve.

This medication may also work in RRMS by:

  • Slowing disability progression
  • Reducing the annual relapse rate
  • Lessening inflammation
  • Reducing the size of new and existing brain lesions

For PPMS, the drug works by:

  • Slowing disability progression
  • Reducing the risk of declining walking speed
  • Lessening the size of new and existing brain lesions
  • Reducing loss of brain volume

How to use Ocrelizumab?

The prescribed dosage for this medication is based on your medical condition, age, weight, and response to it. For the best benefit from this product, take it regularly. You must take this medication exactly as it is prescribed. It may cause another complication or may worsen your current condition.

Ocrelizumab is given by injection into a vein by a doctor or healthcare professional. It is given on a treatment schedule. The recommended dose is usually 600 mg intravenously every 6 months. The initial dose is given as two separate infusions of 300 mg 2 weeks apart. Follow your doctor’s treatment schedule very carefully.

Your doctor will monitor you closely during your infusion and for at least an hour afterward. Your infusion may be slowed down or stopped depending on your symptoms. You may also be given additional medication. It is to help reduce the severity of an infusion reaction. Those are given before each treatment such as:

  • Corticosteroid
  • An antihistamine
  • Acetaminophen  

If you missed a dose, let your doctor know for instructions. Inform your doctor if your condition gets worse or does not improve.

What are the side effects of Ocrelizumab?

Here are some lists of possible side effects that may occur while taking this drug:

  • Back pain
  • Depression
  • Pain in the extremities
  • Skin infections
  • Lower respiratory tract infections
  • Upper respiratory tract infections

If these side effects continue or get worse, call your doctor immediately.

You may also experience an infusion reaction such as:

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Swollen and sore throat
  • Mouth pain
  • Bronchospasm
  • Flushing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Hypotension
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headache

If you get infusion reactions, your doctor may need to stop or slow down the rate of your infusion.

Warnings and Precautions

  • This medication should not be used by pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding women.
  • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to it. This drug may contain an inactive ingredient that causes an allergic reaction. Get emergency medical help if an allergic reaction occurs.
  • Let your healthcare provider know about all the medicines you take including prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
  • Without the consent of your doctor, you should not receive any vaccination or immunization.
  • Before using this medication, inform your doctor if have ever taken drugs that affect your immune system. Tell as well if you have ever had hepatitis B or are a carrier of the hepatitis B virus.
  • You should not share this or any of your prescriptions with others even if they have the same symptoms as yours.
  • Ocrelizumab affects your immune system. You may get infections more easily, even serious or fatal infections. Call your doctor immediately if you have a cough, fever, chills, and problems with speech, vision, thoughts, or muscle movement.
  • Do not receive any live or live-attenuated vaccine within the 4 weeks before you start treatment with Ocrelizumab. If you need a non-live vaccine, you should receive it at least 2 weeks before you start treatment with Ocrelizumab.
  • Keep this drug at room temperature far from heat, moisture, and from the reach of children.