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Kevzara (Sarilumab)

Kevzara (Sarilumab) is a biologic medicine that suppresses the immune system in order to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Kevzara works by blocking the interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R) found on the surface of cells within the body. Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is a signalling protein, or cytokine, that plays an important role in immune response. IL-6 can cause pain and swelling in the joints of people with arthritis. Blocking it can help improve their symptoms.

Kevzara is itself a type of protein known as a monoclonal antibody.

Kevzara serves as a therapy option for patients who had difficulty tolerating other classes of common rheumatology drugs, including DMARDs (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) and TNF blockers, or did not find them to be particularly effective.

Taking Kevzara

Kevzara is available as an subcutaneous (under the skin) injection that is taken every 2 weeks. The normal dose is 150-200 mg depending on the patient’s body weight.

Subcutaneous injections are easy to do compared to other types of injections. Patients can do them quickly at home. A small needle pokes just under the skin to deliver medicine into the “fatty tissue” below.

To learn how take the injection at home, watch our video to learn how to self-inject: Learn how to inject: subcutaneous injections.

It can take 6-12 weeks for patients to feel the effects of this medication.

Kevzara is often given in combination with methotrexate.

Important Tests and Risks

Kevzara can make it a bit harder for people to fight off infections. Patients taking this medicine should call their doctor they have a fever, think they have an infection, or have been prescribed antibiotics to treat an infection. Patients should coordinate with their doctor to stop treatment before any surgery. It can be re-started once things have healed and there’s no sign of infection. Patients should discuss all vaccinations with their doctor because some are not advisable to get while taking Kevzara.

All patients should have a TB (tuberculosis) skin test and a chest x-ray before starting Kevzara.

It is important for patients who are taking Kevzara to get regular blood tests as requested by their doctor. It is necessary to make sure Kevzara isn’t affecting the liver, blood counts, or cholesterol levels.

Drug Identification Number (DIN): 02460521 (150 mg), 02460548 (200 mg)