Ocrevus Transforming Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Landscape In Malaysia




In the realm of neurological disorders, multiple sclerosis (MS) stands as a formidable adversary, affecting the brain and spinal cord, and consequently, all bodily functions. The intricate mechanisms of this condition involve the damaging of myelin, the protective coating around nerves, leading to disruptions in electrical impulses between the brain and the body. However, recent advancements in treatment, particularly the introduction of OCREVUS®, offer new hope for patients battling this debilitating disease.


OCREVUS®, developed by Roche, represents a significant milestone in MS therapy. This monoclonal antibody medication targets CD20-positive B cells, which are implicated in the immune system's assault on myelin. By addressing the underlying cause of MS, OCREVUS® not only slows down disease progression but also reduces the frequency of relapses, thereby improving the quality of life for patients.




Panelists involve. 

● Dr. Low Soon Chai, Consultant Neurologist

● Dr. Chey Shin Yee, Consultant Neurologist

● En. Rizal Aminuddin, President of Multiple Sclerosis Society of Malaysia (MSSM) who is also a caregiver to his wife, an MS patient

In November 2023, Roche (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. announced the availability of OCREVUS® in Malaysia, marking a pivotal moment in MS treatment within the region. This introduction provides Malaysian patients with a convenient dosing option, administered via intravenous infusion every six months, for both relapsing forms of MS (RMS) and primary progressive MS (PPMS).
The impact of MS is not confined by geographical boundaries. While the prevalence of MS in Asia may be lower compared to regions like North America and Europe, the symptoms and challenges faced by patients remain equally severe. In Malaysia, where MS is classified as a rare disease, an estimated prevalence of 6 per 100,000 population underscores the need for effective treatment options.
Clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of OCREVUS® in significantly slowing disability progression and reducing relapse rates. In studies such as OPERA I and OPERA II, participants treated with OCREVUS® experienced nearly half the number of relapses compared to conventional therapies. Moreover, OCREVUS® has shown promise in delaying disability progression in PPMS patients, offering hope for those with this often more severe form of the disease.
The availability of OCREVUS® in Malaysia is not merely a pharmaceutical milestone but also a testament to collaborative efforts between healthcare providers, patient advocates, and pharmaceutical companies. Initiatives such as Roche's Patient Assistance Program (RPAP) play a crucial role in ensuring equitable access to treatment, alleviating the financial burden on patients and their families.
The insights provided by neurologists and patient advocates underscore the multifaceted nature of MS management. From early intervention and accurate diagnosis to ongoing support and advocacy, a comprehensive approach is essential in addressing the diverse needs of MS patients.

En. Rizal Aminuddin, President of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Malaysia (MSSM), encapsulates the importance of such collaborative efforts, drawing from personal experience as a caregiver. His advocacy for early intervention and holistic treatment approaches reflects the shared commitment to improving the lives of MS patients in Malaysia and beyond.



As OCREVUS® continues to make strides in MS treatment, it not only offers new hope but also underscores the importance of innovation, collaboration, and patient-centered care in tackling complex neurological conditions. With each advancement, we move closer to a future where MS is not just managed but conquered, empowering patients to lead fuller, more vibrant lives.

References
Available at Atlas of MS 3rd edition. https://www.msif.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Atlas-3rd-Edition-Epidemiology-report-EN-updated-30-9-20.pdf. Last accessed 2 February 2024. Walton, C., King, R., Rechtman, L., et al. (2020). “Rising prevalence of multiple sclerosis worldwide: Insights from the Atlas of MS, third edition.” Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 26(14), 1816-1821. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1352458520970841. Last accessed 2 February 2024. Available at the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). https://pharmacy.moh.gov.my/sites/default/files/document-upload/malaysian-orphan-medicines-guideline-2020_0.pdf. Last accessed 2 February 2024.Available at Atlas of MS. https://www.atlasofms.org/map/malaysia/epidemiology/number-of-people-with-ms. Last accessed 2 February 2024.Hauser, S.L., Amit, B.-O., Giancarlo, C., et al. (2017). “Ocrelizumab versus interferon beta-1a in relapsing multiple sclerosis.” N Engl J Med, 376, 221-234. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1601277. Last accessed 2 February 2024. Weber, M. S., Kappos, L., Hauser, S. L., Nicholas, J. A., Scheneble, H.-M., Wang, Q., Giovannoni, G., Filippi, M. (2023). "The Patient Impact of 10 Years of Ocrelizumab Treatment in Multiple Sclerosis: Long-term Data from the Phase III OPERA and ORATORIO Studies." Paper presented at: 9th Joint ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS Meeting; October 11-13, 2023; Milan, Italy.Available at Atlas of MS. https://www.atlasofms.org/chart/malaysia/epidemiology/female-to-male-ratio-of-people-with-ms. Last accessed 2 February 2024.Viswanathan, S., Wah, L.M. (2019). “A nationwide epidemiological study on the prevalence of multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder with important multi-ethnic differences in Malaysia.” Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 25(11), 1452-1461. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1352458518792430. Last accessed 2 February 2024. Montalban, X., Hauser, S.L., Kappos, L., et al. (2017). “Ocrelizumab versus placebo in primary progressive multiple sclerosis.” N Engl J Med, 376, 209-220. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa1606468. Last accessed 2 February 2024. Lin, M., Zhang, J., Zhang, Y., Luo, J., Shi, S. (2022). “ Ocrelizumab for multiple sclerosis.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 5(5). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9115862/. Last accessed 2 February 2024.



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