Wednesday 14 September 2022

Ocrelizumab: The Mighty Immunosuppressor

picture borrowed from - not entirely sure what it means but it looks cool

You may remember, way back before the dawn of history, when I had my initial two half-doses of Ocrevus. That would have been November 2021. 

Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) is thought to be one of the most effective DMTs. And it's quite appealing because, rather than being a daily / thrice-weekly injection, or a twice-a-day pill, or a monthly infusion, it's delivered through an infusion every six months. 

Well, as I write this, in September 2022, I'm potentially on the cusp of maybe having my first full dose. Ten months later. 

Here's the science bit. 

Ocrevus is an immunosuppressant. The good science behind this is MS is a disease where the immune system gets a bit confused and starts to attack itself, primarily the protective sheath (myelin) that covers the nerves in the body, as well as breaching the blood-brain barrier (which leads to scarring on the brain).

So it makes total sense to basically get the immune system to sit down, take a stress pill, and calm the fcuk down

Well, it turns out that Ocrevus is really good at its job. So good in fact that I've basically not had a fully-functioning immune system all year. Here's a quote from a recent letter from my MS Nurse.

Ocrelizumab reduces the number of particular cells of the immune system responsible for producing antibodies. Individuals receiving ocrelizumab do not seem to produce enough antibodies in response to COVID-19 vaccination which increases their risk of infection.
Because COVID hasn't gone away (despite what some people say), my medical team and I wanted to make sure I get my fourth dose (plus my flu jab) before I let loose the Mighty Immunosuppressor

After three blood tests at the hospital, my immune cell count has gone from 0.4 to 4.12. So I'm now able to get my next dose of COVID vaccine, followed by my winter flu jab, and then potentially my first full infusion. 


Why any doubt? Well before I have my COVID vaccine, I need to do an antibody test. Then on the day of my infusion, I'll do another at the hospital. And I guess that my infusion will only go ahead if my numbers are correct. 

I am very glad that I have a medical team that is looking out for me.

But it's times like these that I really bloody miss my regular Tysabri infusions.

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