PNH REAL STORIES

Meet Victor

Diagnosed with PNH at 27 years old

Victor worked in the concert security industry and was planning a future with his fiancée when he started experiencing unexplained bruising, fatigue and abdominal pain. A visit to his doctor led to a month-long stay in the hospital, where he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia.

Victor, diagnosed with PNH at 27 years old, with his fiancée and child

He continued to have symptoms such as dark urine, difficulty swallowing and back pain. After trying unsuccessfully for two years to treat his anemia, his doctor referred him to a specialist, who diagnosed him with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) – an ultra-rare, potentially life-threatening blood disorder in which uncontrolled activation of the complement system leads to the chronic destruction of red blood cells.1,2

When he was first diagnosed in his mid-twenties, Victor says he was devastated and felt as if he had crawled into a cave. He was getting blood transfusions monthly, had little energy and was told he might only have 10 more years to live. The most difficult thing about having PNH was missing out on activities with friends and family, and the toll it took on him mentally. He became depressed. “People were doing things without me and I felt like I wasn’t a part of normal society,” he says. “I didn’t want to talk to people.”

Victor, diagnosed with PNH at 27 years old

Victor and his doctor discussed options and he began appropriate management of his PNH. He also joined a support group at his wife’s suggestion, which radically changed his outlook.

“When I went to the first meeting and shared my story, I realized it’s important to know you are not alone and that there is hope,” Victor says. “It gave me a sense of comfort and encouragement. Now I know that others can benefit from my experience and I want to be an inspiration to them.”

INDICATIONS & IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FOR SOLIRIS® (eculizumab)
INDICATIONS

What is SOLIRIS?
SOLIRIS is a prescription medicine called a monoclonal antibody. SOLIRIS is used to treat:

  • patients with a disease called Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH)
  • adults and children with a disease called atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (aHUS)
    • SOLIRIS is not for use in treating people with Shiga toxin E. coli related hemolytic uremic syndrome (STEC-HUS)
  • adults with a disease called generalized Myasthenia Gravis (gMG) who are anti-acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibody positive
  • adults with a disease called neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) who are anti-aquaporin-4 (AQP4) antibody positive

It is not known if SOLIRIS is safe and effective in children with PNH, gMG, or NMOSD.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

What is the most important information I should know about SOLIRIS?
SOLIRIS is a medicine that affects your immune system. SOLIRIS can lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections.

  • SOLIRIS increases your chance of getting serious and life-threatening meningococcal infections. Meningococcal infections may quickly become life-threatening and cause death if not recognized and treated early.
  1. You must receive meningococcal vaccines at least 2 weeks before your first dose of SOLIRIS if you have not already had this vaccine.
  2. If your doctor decided that urgent treatment with SOLIRIS is needed, you should receive meningococcal vaccination as soon as possible.
  3. If you have not been vaccinated and SOLIRIS therapy must be initiated immediately, you should also receive two weeks of antibiotics with your vaccinations.
  4. If you had a meningococcal vaccine in the past, you might need additional vaccination before starting SOLIRIS. Your doctor will decide if you need additional meningococcal vaccination.
  5. Meningococcal vaccines reduce the risk of meningococcal infection but do not prevent all meningococcal infections. Call your doctor or get emergency medical care right away if you get any of these signs and symptoms of a meningococcal infection:
  • headache with nausea or vomiting
  • headache and fever
  • headache with a stiff neck or stiff back
  • fever
  • fever and a rash
  • confusion
  • muscle aches with flu-like symptoms
  • eyes sensitive to light

Your doctor will give you a Patient Safety Card about the risk of 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 doctor or nurse who treats you. This will help them diagnose and treat you quickly.

SOLIRIS is only available through a program called the SOLIRIS REMS. Before you can receive SOLIRIS, your doctor must:

  • enroll in the SOLIRIS REMS program
  • counsel you about the risk of meningococcal infection
  • give you information about the symptoms of meningococcal infection
  • give you a Patient Safety Card about your risk of meningococcal infection, as discussed above
  • make sure that you are vaccinated with the meningococcal vaccine and, if needed, get revaccinated with the meningococcal vaccine. Ask your doctor if you are not sure if you need to be revaccinated.

SOLIRIS may also increase the risk of other types of serious infections. If your child is treated with SOLIRIS, make sure that your child receives vaccinations against Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Certain people may be at risk of serious infections with gonorrhea. Talk to your doctor about whether you are at risk for gonorrhea infection, about gonorrhea prevention, and regular testing. Certain fungal infections (Aspergillus) may also happen if you take SOLIRIS and have a weak immune system or a low white blood cell count.

Who should not receive SOLIRIS?
Do not receive SOLIRIS if you:

  • have a meningococcal infection.
  • have not been vaccinated against meningitis infection unless your doctor decides that urgent treatment with SOLIRIS is needed. See “What is the most important information I should know about SOLIRIS?”

Before you receive SOLIRIS, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • have an infection or fever.
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if SOLIRIS will harm your unborn baby.
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if SOLIRIS passes into your breast milk.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. SOLIRIS and other medicines can affect each other causing side effects.

It is important that you:

  • have all recommended vaccinations before you start SOLIRIS
  • receive 2 weeks of antibiotics if you immediately start SOLIRIS
  • stay up-to-date with all recommended vaccinations during treatment with SOLIRIS

Know the medications you take and the vaccines you receive. Keep a list of them to show your doctor and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

Monitoring Disease After Stopping SOLIRIS

  • If you have PNH, your doctor will need to monitor you closely for at least 8 weeks after stopping SOLIRIS. Stopping treatment with SOLIRIS may cause breakdown of your red blood cells due to PNH. Symptoms or problems that can happen due to red blood cell breakdown include:
    • drop in the number of your red blood cell count
    • drop in your platelet count
    • confusion
    • kidney problems
    • blood clots
    • difficulty breathing
    • chest pain

  • If you have aHUS, your doctor will need to monitor you closely during and for at least 12 weeks after stopping treatment for signs of worsening aHUS symptoms or problems related to abnormal clotting (thrombotic microangiopathy). Symptoms or problems that can happen with abnormal clotting may include:
    • stroke
    • confusion
    • seizure
    • chest pain (angina)
    • difficulty breathing
    • kidney problems
    • swellings in arms or legs
    • a drop in your platelet count

What are the possible side effects of SOLIRIS?
SOLIRIS can cause serious side effects including:

  • See “What is the most important information I should know about SOLIRIS?”
  • Serious allergic reactions. Serious allergic reactions can happen during your SOLIRIS infusion. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you get any of these symptoms during your SOLIRIS infusion:
    • chest pain
    • trouble breathing or shortness of breath
    • swelling of your face, tongue, or throat
    • feel faint or pass out

If you have an allergic reaction to SOLIRIS, your doctor may need to infuse SOLIRIS more slowly, or stop SOLIRIS. See “How will I receive SOLIRIS?” in the Medication Guide.

The most common side effects in people with PNH treated with SOLIRIS include:

  • headache
  • pain or swelling of your nose or throat (nasopharyngitis)
  • back pain
  • nausea

The most common side effects in people with aHUS treated with SOLIRIS include:

  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • common cold (upper respiratory infection)
  • stomach-area (abdominal) pain
  • vomiting
  • pain or swelling of your nose or throat (nasopharyngitis)
  • low red blood cell count (anemia)
  • cough
  • swelling of legs or feet (peripheral edema)
  • nausea
  • urinary tract infections
  • fever

The most common side effects in people with gMG treated with SOLIRIS include:

  • muscle and joint (musculoskeletal) pain

The most common side effects in people with NMOSD treated with SOLIRIS include:

  • common cold (upper respiratory infection)
  • pain or swelling of your nose or throat (nasopharyngitis)
  • diarrhea
  • back pain
  • dizziness
  • flu like symptoms (influenza) including fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, and body aches
  • joint pain (arthralgia)
  • throat irritation (pharyngitis)
  • bruising (contusion)

Tell your doctor 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 doctor or pharmacist.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit MedWatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see the accompanying full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide for SOLIRIS, including Boxed WARNING regarding serious and life-threatening meningococcal infections.

References:

  1. Hill A, Richards SJ, Hillmen P. Recent developments in the understanding and management of paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria. Br J Haematol. 2007;137(3):181-192.
  2. Hillmen P, Lewis SM, Bessler M, Luzzatto L, Dacie JV. Natural history of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. N Engl J Med. 1995;333(19):1253-1258.

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