First and Only Breakthrough Medicine Approved to Treat Thyroid Eye Disease Offers Hope to Patients
The recent approval of Tepezza (teprotumumab-trbw) provides a new treatment option for Thyroid Eye Disease ("TED") patients and adds another biologic to the infusion space.
Horizon Pharma’s January 21, 2020 approval of Tepezza received priority review, orphan drug,fast track and breakthrough therapy designations from the FDA. Prior to this approval, TED patients had no other options and often required surgery. Most Ophthalmologists feel that Thyroid Eye Disease is a devastating, disfiguring disease that is not adequately treated. It leaves patients with years of struggling and the possibility of complex surgeries. The OPTIC trial showed promising reductions in critical symptoms including proptosis and diplopia.
Horizon’s Tepezza brings hope to TED patients
Thyroid eye disease, sometimes called Graves’ ophthalmology or Graves’ Eye Disease, is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system causes inflammation and swelling and stimulates the production of muscle tissue and fat behind the eye. Up to one half of those with Grave’s Disease develop Thyroid Eye Disease. It is no surprise Ophthalmologists have been eagerly prescribing Tepezza and patients have been ready to start this treatment, despite COVID-19. This brings hope to patients who once had to take the “watch and wait” approach with their diagnosis which put them at serious risk for vision loss. The recent FDA approval changes the paradigm of treatment options for those diagnosed with TED. Tepezza is infused over 60-90 minutes every three weeks for a total of 8 infusions.
If you are ready to prescribe Tepezza for your patients, where do you send them for their infusion? Two common options for infusion patients include home infusion or referring the patient to the local hospital infusion center. Both options have their benefits, though they should be researched carefully. Will you have full visibility into the patients’ care? Do you know what protocols those facilities and nurses are following? Will they be treated promptly? Will those options be costly for the patient? A third option is to infuse the patient in your office. Benefits to in-office infusions are numerous; improved patient physician relationship; increased visibility into the full continuum of care.
The case for treating TED patients in your office
If you have decided you want to infuse these patients your office,there are several things to consider. Do you have the staff and expertise required to manage the prior-authorization? Do you have sufficient resources to manage the purchase and management of inventory. There are numerous other questions in setting up your own in-office infusion center. If you get it right, your patients will be happy and the infusion center could meaningfully contribute to the growth of your practice. Biologic drugs are notoriously expensive. A few mistakes can cost thousands of dollars and can cause the infusion center to be a burden on your bottom line.
A Better Option
Another option is partnering with a management company, like OI Infusion.A management company can set up and manage your in-office infusion center. OI Infusion has worked with dozens of specialty practices to set up and manage in-office infusions, removing the risk and confusion with setting up and operating their in-office infusion center. If you are interested in learning if an in-office infusion center is right for your practice, or if a management company could be beneficial, please schedule a consultation.