This is Michael’s story; not all patients respond to therapy. Individual results and experiences may vary.
Please see the full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide for Soliris, including Boxed WARNING regarding serious and life-threatening meningococcal infections.

REAL STORIES

Michael’s gMG story

For most of my life, I had been an active, outgoing, fun-loving co-worker, friend, and husband. But my diagnosis of generalized Myasthenia Gravis (gMG) changed all of that.

In February of 2010, my first symptoms became noticeable as I began to struggle slightly with my speech. I was having trouble getting the words out of my mouth and, when I could talk, people were having difficulty understanding me. At the time, I worked as a cashier and greeting people was a regular part of my day, so not being able to clearly communicate was frustrating. I also began to struggle with my activity level and remember going on a short jog that left me very out of breath.

Finding answers

I first sought help from an allergist in hopes of clearing up any congestion. Although my pin test came back completely normal, I started on some allergy medications. I believed I saw a hint of success as my speech problems were intermittent, but nothing was ever fully resolved. Next, I sought treatment from an ear, nose, and throat specialist and had a nasal endoscopy to evaluate my sinus passages. Then, I started seeing a speech therapist who, after a few months, knew this was not a speech problem. I also turned to my rheumatologist as I also have lupus, but he was much more focused on the lupus than treating something additional.

Finally, in May 2011, I went to a neurology specialist. I had yet to find a doctor who knew how to help me, so I remember thinking, “What can this lady do for me?” I actually blew off the first 2 appointments, and when I went to cancel my third appointment, the receptionist said, “Cancel 3 times and you’re done.” Thankfully, that was just what I needed to hear to make me keep my appointment. That day, the neurologist diagnosed me with gMG. She gave me a shock therapy test and suggested icing my face to help with my speech. I saw my neurologist weekly and followed a treatment regimen. I was relieved to have a diagnosis and to finally know what I was suffering from; however, I still struggled to manage my gMG.

Continuing to struggle

In March 2015, I hit an all-time low and left work to go on disability. I was constantly missing work, was unable to speak, and didn’t have the energy to get myself ready in the morning. Those were very difficult years as I felt completely isolated and pushed many loved ones away. I felt defeated and thought nobody else could understand what I was going through. gMG took away my job, put stress on my marriage, and distanced me from my family and friends. Where I had once been the energetic life of the party, I now retreated to my basement, where I found an escape playing video games. I was not the extraverted Michael that those close to me had grown to know and love.

One of my lowest moments was when I got so weak that I lost consciousness and my wife found me laying on our kitchen floor. She has been my rock, my provider, my constant support, and for her to see me so helpless was upsetting, to say the least.

Starting Soliris

My gMG symptoms were worsening so my neurologist sent me to see a specialist. Based on my medical history, and because my gMG was anti-AChR+, I was asked to participate in a clinical trial for Soliris. At that point, I wasn’t working and felt like I had nothing to lose, so I started the trial in 2015. First, I had the meningococcal vaccinations. My doctor explained to me that Soliris increases my chance of getting serious and life-threatening meningococcal infections. Meningococcal infections have occurred with patients taking Soliris and may quickly become life-threatening and cause death if not recognized and treated early. My doctor explained that meningococcal vaccines reduce the risk of meningococcal infection but do not prevent all meningococcal infections. I was advised to call my doctor or get emergency medical care right away if I get any signs and symptoms of a meningococcal infection like 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, or if my eyes are sensitive to light. Two weeks later, I would get my infusion. Only later did I learn I was on the placebo part of the trial, not the actual drug.

 

In January 2016, I started the open-label trial and was actually on Soliris. In 3 months, I started to see results—my talking improved, and I did not need the rest periods that I had come to expect.

For Soliris, the most common side effect reported for gMG in the trials was muscle joint (musculoskeletal) pain. I would encourage you to talk to your physician. I get my IV infusions at home every other week by my infusion nurse. My OneSource™ Case Manager, Mari Jean, helps me work with my insurance company. I am on commercial insurance, and my Soliris is covered under my insurance.

Once your Soliris infusion begins, it usually takes about 35 minutes to complete. 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. Please see additional Important Safety Information for Soliris, including Boxed WARNING regarding serious and life-threatening meningococcal infections, below.

There are things that gMG took away from me that I will never get back—not being able to smile on my wedding day (to this day I only like the way I look in 30 of the 900 wedding pictures), not always being able to kiss my wife, and not being able to communicate with my father who died of cancer. But today I am returning to what is important to me and what makes me who I am. I returned to work in April of 2016 and I am energized by my conversations with both my colleagues and my customers.

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IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION & INDICATION FOR SOLIRIS® (eculizumab), INCLUDING BOXED WARNING
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 2 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 a meningococcal vaccine

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.

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 gMG treated with SOLIRIS include:

  • muscle and joint (musculoskeletal) pain

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.

INDICATION
What is SOLIRIS?

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

  • adults with a disease called generalized Myasthenia Gravis (gMG) who are anti-acetylcholine receptor (AchR) antibody positive

It is not known if SOLIRIS is safe and effective in children with gMG.

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

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION & INDICATION FOR SOLIRIS® (eculizumab), INCLUDING BOXED WARNING
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 2 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 a meningococcal vaccine

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.

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 gMG treated with SOLIRIS include:

  • muscle and joint (musculoskeletal) pain

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.

INDICATION
What is SOLIRIS?

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

  • adults with a disease called generalized Myasthenia Gravis (gMG) who are anti-acetylcholine receptor (AchR) antibody positive

It is not known if SOLIRIS is safe and effective in children with gMG.

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