In light of the recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), the National MS Society’s National Medical Advisory Committee has just published recommendations for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and the use of some therapies.1
Soliris® (eculizumab) is a medicine known as a complement inhibitor.2 It is designed to work in a very specific part of the immune system. In the clinical trials, the respiratory viral infections were consistent with the types of infections common in the general population and were not serious in nature and patients stayed on Soliris treatment.2,3
Although Soliris has not been studied with every vaccination currently available, there are no known concerns with receiving recommended vaccines while taking Soliris.2,4
Based on the way Soliris works, safety data compiled from thousands of patients, and over 10 years of experience, it does not appear that patients treated with Soliris have a higher risk of developing a coronaviral infection or that the course of their infection would be worse than if they had not received Soliris.3,5
Viral respiratory infections were observed in the Alexion-sponsored clinical trials for Soliris.2 Those viral respiratory infections were the same type of respiratory viral infections that are typically seen in the general population, like the common cold. In the trials, the viral respiratory infections were not serious in nature and all resolved without the patient having to discontinue treatment with Soliris.2,3
It is important to note that Soliris patients are at increased risk for developing meningococcal infections, which have some of the same early symptoms as COVID-19.2
If you develop a headache and fever or have muscle aches with flu-like symptoms (or any symptoms as described on the patient safety card), call your doctor right away or seek emergency medical treatment, as these could be signs of a meningococcal infection that requires immediate medical attention. If you’re unable to reach your doctor, immediately seek emergency medical treatment and show “Patient Safety Card” to emergency staff at the hospital.
Please see the full CDC recommendations for COVID-19 for information about populations that may be at higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19.
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Your healthcare provider will give you a Patient Safety Card about the risk of serious meningococcal infection. Carry it with you at all times during treatment and for 3 months after your last SOLIRIS dose. Your risk of meningococcal infection may continue for several weeks after your last dose of SOLIRIS. It is important to show this card to any healthcare provider who treats you. This will help them diagnose and treat you quickly.
SOLIRIS may also increase the risk of other types of serious infections, including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Certain people may be at risk of serious infections with gonorrhea. Certain fungal infections (Aspergillus) may occur if you take SOLIRIS and have a weak immune system or a low white blood cell count.
Tell your healthcare provider about all the vaccines you receive and medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements which could affect your treatment.
Tell your healthcare provider about any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of SOLIRIS. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.