All posts related to "medications"

Good news for Canadians living with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis

A woman happy about good news for CanadiansYukon, Ontario, and British Columbia have all recently added biosimilar etanercept (Brenzys®) to their provincial formularies for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. The following clinical criterion and conditions must be met:

  • clinical criterion: for use in patients for whom etanercept is considered to be the most appropriate treatment option.
  • conditions: Brenzys® must be reimbursed in a manner similar to Enbrel®; and, the cost of treatment with Brenzys® should provide significant cost savings for jurisdictions compared with the cost of treatment with Enbrel®

On October 25, 2016, biosimilar etanercept (Brenzys®) was approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Brenzys® is a biosimilar to the Canadian authorized reference product, Enbrel®. Both contain the active pharmaceutical ingredient, etanercept. Brenzys® works by targeting the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFA) molecule and is given by subcutaneous injection. Please click here to read the details of Health Canada’s decision summary for Brenzys®.

Listing details can be found in the JointHealth™ Arthritis Medications Report Card.

JointHealth™ insight: The latest news on provincial drug formulary

In this issue of JointHealth™ insight, Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) maps out the latest news for you about provincial drug formulary listing decisions. It contains information about important changes to provincial drug formularies and what it means for Canadians living with inflammatory arthritis. The changes covered in this update affect people living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

Map of Canada with highlights of changesManitoba
The following medication has been listed for reimbursement on the provincial drug formulary: Continue reading

ACE Releases 9th Annual Arthritis Medications Report Card

Report Card Slide BannerGood news/bad news for Canadians living with arthritis, depending on where they live

Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) has released its Ninth Annual JointHealth™ Arthritis Medications Report Card with a clear message to the federal and provincial governments in Canada: Reimbursement access to arthritis medications has improved in many Canadian provinces, however, disappointing inequities remain in patient/physician choice and patient access to reimbursement for the medication prescribed for them by their rheumatologist.

“Thanks to the advocacy efforts of people living with arthritis and their rheumatologists, progress has been made in many Canadian provinces. We encourage the federal and provincial governments to maintain their commitment to the estimated 600,000 Canadians living with a type of autoimmune arthritis – rheumatoid arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis, psoriatic arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis – and their right to choose with their healthcare team the therapy best suited to their disease biology, which is distinctly different from patient to patient,” said Cheryl Koehn, Founder and President, Arthritis Consumer Experts. Continue reading

Life-changing biologics: So close, yet so far

A person with a graduate hat and gownOliver Sachgau, a young university graduate living with juvenile arthritis, shared his medication treatment journey with the Globe and Mail this week. He was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at the young age of 14. Throughout his high school and university years, he kept his arthritis symptom-free by taking the biologics Enbrel, which costs $1,800 a month and was thankfully covered under his family’s insurance plan.  When he graduated from university, he was no longer covered under his family’s health plan.

In the article, he said: “I’m not a unique case. Enbrel is part of a class of medication called biologics. For those who take them, biologics can perform miracles. But their high cost, which is rarely mitigated by medical coverage, has created a unique situation for thousands of Canadians who want, but can’t have, their life-changing medication.” The medication cost Canada’s public health plans more than half a billion dollars in 2013, for about 30,000 beneficiaries. Continue reading

Do you have rheumatoid arthritis? This study is for you!

Online ToolDo you have rheumatoid arthritis and have you recently been recommended to START or SWITCH biologic medications?

Researchers at Arthritis Research Canada would like YOU to try the latest online tool to help make your treatment decisions. 

We are looking for people with rheumatoid arthritis across Canada to try a new online tool that helps to make decisions about using biologic medications.

If you have been recommended to consider starting or switching biologic medications, we invite you to participate in this study. You may be eligible if you:

  1. Have rheumatoid arthritis
  2. See a rheumatologist
  3. You are considering or reconsidering starting or switching biologics
  4. Have a valid email and internet access

We are more than halfway there! We now have 28 participants who have completed the study. Please help us reach our recruitment target of 55 participants.

The study will take about two hours to complete over a span of four to six weeks, and can be completed remotely.  Any information you provide will be completely confidential. An honorarium will be provided for your time.

If you would like more information, please contact Jasmina Memetovic, Research Coordinator by phone at 604-207-4007, toll free 1-877-871-4575, or email

Common Drug Review recommendation for tofacitinib (Xeljanz®)

Approved stampCommon Drug Review recommendation for tofacitinib (Xeljanz®)

Good news for Canadians living with rheumatoid arthritis

On April 21, 2015, the Common Drug Review concluded its review of tofacitinib (Xeljanz®) and recommended to public formularies that it be listed for reimbursement in combination with methotrexate (MTX), for reducing the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adult patients with moderately to severely active RA or as a monotherapy in those who were intolerant to MTX. Click here to read the complete Common Drug Review recommendations. Continue reading

JointHealth™ monthly – The JointHealth™ Medications Guide issue

Annual JointHealth™ Medications Guide: A consumer’s guide to arthritis medications

The reliable, quick reference arthritis medications guide you need to assist you and your health care team with your therapy conversations 

Picture of JHM MarchThis year’s JointHealth™ Medications Guide gives you, our member, subscriber and on-line visitor concise, fact-based information on the most commonly prescribed medications for inflammatory types of arthritis and osteoarthritis. Feature articles about new medications and scientific advances that give a deeper understanding of the importance of timely initiation of medication therapy in appropriate doses, and a patient’s perspective on the therapy conversation, are key pieces that lead toward “personalized medicine”.

Medication information for the following diseases is included in this year’s guide: rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis, (systemic) juvenile idiopathic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, vasculitis, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis.

In this JointHealth™ monthly, you will also find:

  • An explanation of a new targeted small molecule medication and a subsequent entry biologic approved in Canada in 2014.
  • An interview with Alison Hoens, a woman living with rheumatoid arthritis, about therapy choices.
  • A history of methotrexate as an arthritis treatment.
  • Emerging research in the field of personalized medicine.

ACE asks Canadians: How does your province measure up?


ACE’s Arthritis Medications Report Card helps Canadians evaluate reimbursement access to arthritis medications 

(Vancouver, BC) — In its eighth annual JointHealth™ Arthritis Medications Report Card, Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE) reports that, depending on where they live, Canadians living with an autoimmune arthritis may have fewer treatment options or have to “jump through more hoops” to qualify for reimbursement for the medication prescribed for them by their rheumatologist.

“ACE continues to fight for the rights of people with arthritis, which includes our leadership on timely and equitable reimbursement access to arthritis medications on public and private drug formularies. Studies have found that increases in medication treatment costs for rheumatoid arthritis over the last decade are associated with lower hospitalization rates, better functional status and a lower incidence of work disability,” said Cheryl Koehn, Founder and President of Arthritis Consumer Experts.

JointHealth Report Card Segment Continue reading

JointHealth™ monthly – November/December 2014

November JHM ENThe JointHealth™ Arthritis Medications Report Card: How Does Your Province Measure Up?

While there are no cures for arthritis, scientific advances and improved treatments, along with a better understanding of combination medication therapy, are allowing people with arthritis to live healthier, more productive lives. In the last year, advances in arthritis treatment include the expansion of two new classes of medications used to treat autoimmune forms of arthritis. This year’s JointHealth™ Arthritis Medications Report Card reflects this change and covers three medication categories – biologic response modifiers, subsequent entry biologics, and targeted small molecule medications – increasing the number of individual arthritis medications evaluated in the Report Card to 13.

Continue reading

AS it Goes – Medical Advice in the Produce Department

grocery store produceShopping list: milk, eggs, lettuce, and… medical advice? Recently, while in the produce department of her local grocery store, Fran went in expecting to buy lettuce, but left with far more.

Much to the dismay of my children, I talk to strangers and I admit that I listen in on conversations, especially when people publicly discuss health issues. I mean, if it is a private matter, then talk quietly so I can’t hear!

An exchange that I overheard in the produce section of the grocery store was particularly interesting and I thought I would share it. The produce clerk and a woman, whom I presume know each other (but maybe, like me, they also talk to strangers), were sharing information about their heel pain commonly known as plantar fasciitis. I have blogged on this “curse” – another obstacle, compliments of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) – so I was particularly drawn to the conversation. I have been outfitted with expensive custom orthotics to a) decrease my chances of a recurrence and b) correct a mechanical problem with my feet and c) help me as I routinely walk on uneven ground surfaces.

As a lingered for a few minutes examining multiple boxes of lettuce, here’s the gist of their convo: Continue reading