Eculizumab (Soliris)

SolirisⓇ (eculizumab) is a laboratory-made antibody for adults with neuromyelitis spectrum disorder (NMO) who have the AQP4 antibody (AQP4-IgG). Soliris is given by intravenous (through the vein, or IV) infusion, usually every 5 weeks. 1,2

What are the ingredients in Soliris?

Eculizumab is the active ingredient in Soliris.1

How does it work?

Doctors do not know the exact way in which Soliris treats NMO. Soliris works by blocking the last step in a pathway called the complement system. Your body uses this pathway to help fight off harmful bacteria and other pathogens. The complement system can start an inflammatory response, so blocking the complement pathway can slow down or stop inflammation.1

Soliris binds to a protein that interferes with a specific part of the immune system. This is thought to prevent the damaging effects of the immune system attacking its own healthy cells, which occurs in NMO.1

What are possible side effects?

Common side effects of Soliris include:1

  • Headache
  • Swelling of the nose and throat
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Cough
  • Back pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Belly pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Decreased red blood cells
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Swelling of the lower legs or hands
  • Fever
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Dizziness
  • Increased risk for getting the flu
  • Bruising

Soliris also has a boxed warning, the strictest warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), because life-threatening and fatal meningitis has occurred in those who have taken Soliris.

Meningitis is an infection and inflammation of the layers of fluid and tissues surrounding your brain and spinal cord. Though this side effect is rare, before starting Soliris you will be given a shot to help prevent this infection.1

These are not all the possible side effects of Soliris. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Soliris. You should also call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Soliris.

Things to know

At least 2 weeks before starting Soliris, you will need to have shots to protect you from meningitis. While these shots help protect many people, there is still a risk of life-threatening or fatal meningitis.1

Because of the risk of meningitis, your doctor will enroll you in a program designed to monitor any signs and symptoms you may have with Soliris.1

Soliris is given by IV infusion. IV site reactions may occur, including life-threatening allergic reactions. In a clinical trial, there were no reported cases of this type of reaction in those who received Soliris.1

There are people whose bodies fight against laboratory-made antibodies. This can make Soliris ineffective. It also may cause an allergic response or harmful side effects. Doctors cannot predict who will end up with this type of response.1,3

It is not known if Soliris can harm an unborn baby. Studies of pregnant women who took Soliris suggest it is safe, but the research is not conclusive. Talk to your doctor if you or your partner are or plan to become pregnant before taking Soliris.1

It is not known if Soliris can pass through breast milk. Doctors do not know the effect of Soliris on babies who are breastfed. There is no information on the effects of Soliris on milk production.1

There have not been long-term studies of Soliris and its link to cancer.1

Before beginning treatment for NMO, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Soliris.1

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

Written by: Katie Murphy | Last reviewed: September 2021