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Kevzara – Treatment of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Kevzara – Treatment of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

A prednisone warrior asks about Kevzara as a treatment for Polymyalgia Rheumatica.

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Kevzara – Treatment of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Hi Yes, I’ve been reading info and blogs. I am holding on 13mg of Prednisone and 15mg of Meloxicam Rheumatologist wants me to try Kevzara …any insight to this drug? I have Polymyalgia Rheumatica. Thanks.

Based on the very little information that is shared here, I have to make this disclaimer that this is not medical advice. Go to your doctor for clear information. 

Polymyalgia rheumatica is a really tricky condition that usually prednisone is the best treatment. If you’re really struggling with prednisone and the side effects are intolerable to you, then maybe consider an alternative. But that’s really between you and your doctor.

Alternatives for Polymyalgia Rheumatica

What are the alternatives you could try? Well, Kevzara was recently approved by the FDA. That is great news because a couple years ago, there were no alternatives to prednisone. This is great progress. However, it’s not like a slam dunk. It’s not perfect. 

Let me just share with you the results of the studies;

Kevzara, generic chemical name is Sarilumab, and it was approved by the FDA. If you cannot tolerate the glucocorticoid taper, the prednisone taper. They did a randomized trial and they had 118 patients who had relapsing PMR. Those who were assigned to take Sarilumab or Kevzara every two weeks had a higher rate of sustained remission than patients assigned to placebo.

But it was only 28% versus 10% on prednisone. It wasn’t a hundred percent versus 10%, it was 28%. Now that’s almost three times as many people who had sustained remission than those who took prednisone, but it’s still not that good, right? 

Tocilizumab for PMR

The other new alternative is called Tocilizumab, and its brand name is Actemra. It showed that it was 63% of the people had a steroid-free remission versus 12%. We’re looking at 10 to 12% of people who are in general able to get off Prednisone and stay in remission from the PMR. 

Either Sarilumab or Tocilizumab can get you above that, but they’re not a hundred percent. It sounds like potentially the Actemra works better than the Kevzara, but they haven’t compared to each other. 

We don’t actually know that. So maybe, maybe not. If your insurance covers it at a reasonable amount of money and you’re really, really struggling on prednisone, it’s a great alternative. 

Is it a perfect treatment? No. 

Those are my thoughts on these potential alternative prescription medications for prednisone. Others also include Methotrexate and Rituximab. Others haven’t been shown helpful. 

Dr. Megan Milne, PharmD, BCACP

Dr. Megan Milne, PharmD, BCACP, is an award-winning clinical pharmacist board certified in the types of conditions people take prednisone for. Dr. Megan had to take prednisone herself for an autoimmune condition so understands what it feels like to suffer prednisone side effects and made it her mission to counteract them as the Prednisone Pharmacist.

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