Diplomat Pharmacy Begins Dispensing Kevzara to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

Diplomat Pharmacy Begins Dispensing Kevzara to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

Diplomat Pharmacy has begun filling prescriptions for Kevzara (sarilumab) for patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

The announcement comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approving the therapy in May. The agency authorized Kevzara for adults with RA who failed to responded to, or were unable to tolerate, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as methotrexate (MTX).

Canada approved Kevzara in January, and the European Union is expected to decide on the drug’s Marketing Authorization Application in coming months.

Kevzara is an interleukin-6 receptor antagonist that can be used alone or in combination with MTX or other DMARDs. It is administrated by injection. The recommended dose is 200 mg once every two weeks, but it can be reduced to 150 mg if routine blood tests reveal abnormalities.

Diplomat is the nation’s largest independent provider of specialty pharmacy services, offering medication management programs for people with complex chronic diseases such as RA. More information about its rheumatology program can be found at diplomat.is/areas-of-excellence/rheumatology.

“Sarilumab offers RA patients a new therapeutic choice to assist in the management of their condition,” Paul Urick, Diplomat’s president, said in a news release. “We are excited to offer a new treatment option for our patients.”

RA is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis. The immune system fails to work properly in RA, attacking healthy cells and tissue. RA causes pain and swelling, especially in the small joints of the hands and feet.

The Arthritis Foundation says nearly 1.5 million people in the United States have the disease, and about 75 percent of patients are women. In fact, it estimates that 1 to 3 percent of women will develop RA in their lifetimes. The disease usually begins between the ages of 30 and 50.

Kevzara was developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi Genzyme. The companies recently started KevzaraConnect to help patients through the treatment process. The program helps those who are uninsured, lack prescription-medicine coverage, or need treatment-associated cost assistance.

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