Limited evidence-based data exist on potential risks of COVID-19 infection in persons with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) receiving immunotherapy. More than 160,000 pwMS have been treated with ocrelizumab (OCR), in clinical trial and real-world settings; data continue to show a consistent and favorable benefit/risk profile.
To present a summary of postmarketing pharmacovigilance data (as of May 31, 2020) from pwMS treated with OCR, who have either confirmed or suspected COVID-19.
Pharmacovigilance-reported adverse event (AE) COVID-19 cases, identified in a search of the Roche Global Safety Database using MedDRA preferred terms and string searches, were defined as valid when at least an identifiable reporter, a single identifiable patient, a medicinal product and a suspected AE were provided. Cases were designated as serious if described by the reporter as serious according to their judgment or if adjudicated as serious by the company when regulatory definitions were met. Patient characteristics and details of OCR treatment were usually provided. All cases were conservatively considered as having confirmed COVID-19. Outcome was classified as recovered, recovering, not recovered, fatal, or not reported.
Of 201 cases, 61% (n=122/201) were reported as non-serious, and 39% (n=79/201) were reported as serious, mostly due to hospitalization (n=51/79). Where known, reasons for hospitalization included, among others, treatment of pneumonia and treatment in ICU. Serious cases were reported as recovered/recovering in 32% (n=25/79) of patients, whilst the outcome was not reported in 33% (n=26/79) of serious cases. A fatal outcome was reported in 5.5% (n=11/201) of patients; risk factors included hypertension, diabetes mellitus, respiratory disease, and malignancy. Updated assessment of the pharmacovigilance cases will be presented.
Taking into account the known limitations of postmarketing safety data, this analysis appears to be in line with published larger case series of non-MS and MS COVID-19 patients. Risk factors in fatal cases were similar to known risk factors reported in the general population.