b"Medicine & Research Doctors NotesTheMSNewscolumnincludesanalysisfromBen Thrower, M.D., MS Focus senior medical advisor.Dr. Thrower draws from the top news stories of thequarter and explains what the news means to you,the person with MS. Christine Willis, MLIS, AHIP, theClinical Information Librarian at Children's Healthcareof Atlanta, Egleston Hospital, contributes.Researchers compare rituximab originator, MabThera and Rituxan are the name brandbiosimilar in MS patientsofrituximab.Rituximabisananti-CD20Researchers at the University Hospital monoclonal antibody given intravenously everyTimone in Marseille, France, compared the sixmonths.Interestingly,thedrugisnotecacy and safety of Truxima (a biosimilar FDA-approved in the U.S. for MS, in spite ofdrug) to MabThera (originator) by looking at studies and real-world experience showinglymphocyte counts, clinical outcomes related that it works. Ocrevus is a more humanizedto the Expanded Disability Status Scale score version of an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodyand adverse events, and MRI activity. A group thatisFDA-approvedforbothrelapsingof 145 patients were enrolled: 40 in the Truxima forms of MS and PPMS.group and 105 in the MabThera group. The This is where things get interesting.two groups had the same proportions of Normally, insurance companies dont wantindividuals with different types of MS and to pay for expensive therapies that are notuse of disease-modifying therapies prior to FDA-approved. Now, some carriers are requiringrituximab. After one year, no significant that patients use the cheaper rituximab overdierences were found on the three measures ocrelizumab even though the former is o-label.evaluated. The researchers acknowledge One carrier, Kaiser, now prefers the biosimilar,limitations of the study that include the and cheaper still, Truxima over rituximab. nonrandomized design, when to switchmedications, and the small number of patients We could have long discussions about thereceiving Truxima. However, even with these hypocrisy of certain insurance companies,limitations the researchers conclude that the but as it relates to the safety and ecacy ofbiosimilar drug seems equal to the originator theseoptionsinMS,thisstudysuggestsregarding ecacy and safety. Truxima is as safe and eective as rituximabDr. Thrower: As newer MS therapies become in MS. We have a long history of using bothavailable, we are also seeing an emergence of rituximab and ocrelizumab in MS and havegeneric and biosimilar MS treatment options. been happy with both.Biosimilar drugs are those that are very close Survey of CAM used in Oregon,to the original product but may have minor Southwest Washington to treat MS dierences in buers, additives, stabilizers, orstructures that should not aect the biosimilar The Oregon Health and Science Universitydrugs function or safety. MS Center conducted two surveys of peoplemsfocusmagazine.org 52"