Diplomat Now Dispensing Sarilumab to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

The drug offers a new therapeutic option to help manage RA.

The recently FDA-approved rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drug sarilumab (Kevzara) is now being dispensed by Diplomat Pharmacy, according to a company press release.

Sarilumab is a human monoclonal antibody designed to bind to the interleukin-6 receptor. It was approved in May 2017 to treat patients with moderate-to-severe RA who have had an inadequate response or intolerance to 1 or more disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARDs).

The approval was based on data from the pivotal phase 3 clinical trials MOBILITY and TARGET, which included approximately 2900 adults.

The recommended dosage of sarilumab is 200 mg once every 2 weeks via subcutaneous injection. It can be used as monotherapy or in combination with methotrexate or other conventional DMARDs, according to the release.

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

RA is a systemic disease that causes inflammation in the joints and can lead to cartilage and bone erosion. In the United States, nearly 1.5 million individuals are living with RA. The incidence is 2 to 3 times higher in women than men and the onset is most common among individuals ages 30 to 60, according to The Arthritis Foundation.

Symptoms include pain, swelling, and redness in the joints, but most patients do not develop symptoms until their 60s.

Diplomat is the largest independent specialty pharmacy in the nation, with its headquarters located in Flint, Michigan. The company was selected as the preferred pharmacy for sarilumab