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Uplizna (inebilizumab)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: June 2023

Uplizna™ (inebilizumab) is a laboratory-made antibody approved for adults with neuromyelitis spectrum disorder (NMOSD) who have the AQP4 antibody (AQP4-IgG). Uplizna is given twice a year by IV infusion.1,2

What are the ingredients in Uplizna?

Inebilizumab is the active ingredient in Uplizna. It is a lab-made antibody.1

How does it work?

Uplizna works by lowering the number of your body’s B cells. B cells are an important part of your immune response that make antibodies. When the number of these cells is decreased, the immune system is suppressed and helps prevent attacks in people with NMOSD.1

What are the possible side effects?

An increased risk of infection has been linked to Uplinza and other similar B-cell targeting antibody drugs. Side effects may also include:1

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Back pain
  • Cold-like symptoms
  • Infusion reaction
  • Decreased antibodies and other immune system cells in the blood

These are not all the possible side effects of Uplizna. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Uplizna. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Uplizna.1

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Things to know

Before every infusion, you will be given drugs to help reduce your chances of reacting to Uplizna. These drugs will help prevent inflammation, fever, or an allergic reaction.1

Your doctor will order tests to check for active infection before starting you on Uplizna.1

Your first dose of Uplizna will be given as 2 separate infusions, 2 weeks apart. After that, you will only need 1 infusion every 6 months.1

If you have had hepatitis B (HBV), talk to your doctor. Uplizna may not be right for you. Reactivation of HBV has occurred with other drugs like Uplizna.1

A life-threatening and often deadly viral brain infection has occurred with other drugs like Uplizna. It is not known if Uplizna carries this risk.1

Your doctor will test you for tuberculosis (TB) before you take Uplizna. TB is a serious and potentially life-threatening lung infection. 1

Because Uplizna can impact different parts of your blood, your doctor will monitor your blood levels during treatment.1

Uplizna can harm an unborn baby. If you or your partner can become pregnant, you should use birth control during treatment and for some time after the last dose of Uplizna. You should also not breastfeed during treatment with Uplizna and for some time after the last dose. Talk to your doctor about your options for birth control and breastfeeding while taking Uplizna.1

If you took Uplizna while pregnant, your baby should not receive some vaccines before checking to make sure certain blood levels are normal. Talk to your doctor and the doctor caring for your child about this.1

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

If you take other drugs that affect your immune system, Uplizna may increase the effect of these drugs. Before beginning treatment for NMOSD, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.1

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Uplizna.