Hizentra Cost and Copay Assistance
Hizentra belongs to the class of medications called Immune Globulin Subcutaneous (Human). It is used to treat primary immunodeficiency conditions, and people who use this medication are said to be undergoing immune globulin therapy. Hizentra is used for the treatment of weakened immune activity and nerve conditions such as demyelinating polyneuropathy.
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first endorsed the medication in 2010. Since then, It has gained widespread popularity, becoming the world’s most prescribed immunoglobulin medication with up to 9.3 million exposures to date.
The color of Hizentra runs from clear and pale yellow to light brown. The medication is available in pre-filled syringes and vials.
While some people prefer syringes, others may feel more secure using vials. Your physician can help you make an informed decision. The syringes always come in volumes ranging from 5 to 20 ml. The vials are available in volumes ranging from 5 to 50 ml.
How Does It Work?
Hizentra’s active ingredient, human immunoglobulin, is a highly purified protein derived from the plasma of healthy individuals. It acts as the body’s soldier to ward off bacterial and viral infections, and it helps create a balanced immune system.
One way the immune system can become unbalanced is when it becomes hyperactive, a condition known as autoimmunity. Hizentra modifies immune hyperactivity through a mechanism called immunomodulation, in which the hyperactivity is regulated in order to prepare the body against potential threats.
Who Can Use It?
Adults and children over two years old can use Hizentra. Patients who use this medication are often those who suffer from nerve disorders such as chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and immune system diseases such as:
- Humoral immune defect in congenital agammaglobulinemia
- Common variable immunodeficiency
- X-linked agammaglobulinemia
- Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome
- Severe combined immunodeficiencies
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Hizentra must be used according to the doctor’s instructions. Hizentra is administered subcutaneously through a needle that is positioned under the skin; it can be administered by a healthcare professional or self-administered after proper training.
Hizentra must be administered in steady amounts. Individuals may utilize up to eight different infusion sites to infuse this medication in multiple body areas.
Avoiding Adverse Effects:
- The doctor or pharmacist will quantify the correct dosage based on the patient’s weight and response to treatment.
- It is not advisable to change the dosage intervals without consulting a physician.
- If a patient misses a dose, they can contact the doctor to modify the dosage plan.
- If a patient overuses the dose, they should seek medical help.
- Patients are advised against consuming large doses in an attempt to achieve quicker results. The consequences may be fatal.
Other Dosage and Usage Requirements:
- Do not use the medication if it is cloudy or has other colors.
- Do not use the medication if there are particles in it.
- Do not shake the Hizentra vial or pre-filled syringe.
- Make sure that you do not infuse the drug into your vein.
- Make sure you assemble the Hizentra supplies like needles in a clean place.
- Wash your hands before and after every use.
- Discard any unused product and all used disposable supplies after each infusion.
Reactions Around the Injection Site:
Other Side Effects:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Pain (including pain in the chest, back, joints, arms, and legs)
- Blood clot
- Shortness of breath
- Runny or stuffy nose
Severe Side Effects
If the following side effects are observed, tell your doctor right away or go to the emergency room.
Signs of a bad allergic reaction:
- Trouble breathing
Signs of a kidney problem:
- Reduced urination
- Sudden weight gain
- Swelling in your legs
Signs of a blood clot
- Pain or swelling of an arm or leg with warmth over the affected area.
- Discoloration of an arm or leg.
- Unexplained shortness of breath, chest pain, or discomfort that worsens on deep breathing.
- Unexplained rapid pulse, or numbness or weakness on one side of the body.
Signs of brain swelling called meningitis
- Bad headache with nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, fever, and sensitivity to light.
Signs of a blood problem
- Brown or red urine
- Fast heart rate
- Yellow skin or eyes
Signs of an infection
- Fever over 100ºF
Seek a doctor’s help if you have chest pains or trouble breathing.
The effects, as mentioned earlier, may occur after prolonged immune globulin therapy. In rare cases, an ulcer may develop in the injection site. Your doctor can regulate the potential side effects if the dosage is taken properly. Patients can also manage the side effects by drinking a lot of water after the therapy.
Side effects that are not listed above may also surface. In such cases, the patients should seek medical help.
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Can Pregnant Women and Breastfeeding Mothers Take the Medication?
There are limited details to indicate any possible negative effects the medication may have on pregnant women and nursing mothers. It is unknown whether Hizentra can pose a danger to the fetus or the woman’s reproductive organs.
Hizentra increasingly passes through the placenta after thirty weeks of gestation. The medication should be administered to pregnant women only if it is clearly needed. Even then, it must be taken with caution and only with permission from a doctor.
Make sure you tell your doctor if you plan to get pregnant or breastfeed.
How Should This Medication Be Administered?
Self-administer Hizentra only after you have received adequate training from either a healthcare professional or a doctor. The infusion is typically carried out in subcutaneous zones like the thigh, lateral hip, belly, and upper arm.
Can Hizentra Be Given Intravenously (IV)?
Hizentra should be infused under your skin only (subcutaneously). DO NOT inject Hizentra into a blood vessel (vein or artery).
The physician will determine the dose and infusion rate based on the patient’s needs and tolerability. The infusion is given using an infusion pump.
The dose and infusion rate should be administered as minimally as possible. Only increase dosage if necessary.
How Fast Does Hizentra Work?
The onset of action may vary for patients. A patient’s body weight, the quantity of the medication infused, and many other factors may influence the duration to take effect. The median infusion time based on clinical trials was about 1.5 to 2 hours for PI and about 1 hour for CIDP.
Patients often begin to see results from their treatments by noticing better control of their symptoms or slowing disease progression. During this time, your doctor will closely monitor and track to see if there are improvements in the symptoms associated with your primary diagnosis.
Some medications can impact how Hizentra works in the body. In many cases, the medications may interfere with each other. As such, it is important to proceed with caution in order to avoid any negative interactions.
The passive transfer of antibodies with immunoglobulin administration may interfere with the response to live virus vaccines such as:
It is important to inform your doctor when using other prescriptions with Hizentra.
It is not safe to use Hizentra when you have the following conditions:
- Allergy to Hizentra or any of its properties
- Allergy to polysorbate 80
- Blood disease
- Renal disease
- Hyperprolinemia (excessive proline in the body)
Hizentra may interact with specific blood tests and impair them for a certain time.
Patients should inform their doctor that they are taking Hizentra before having any blood work done.
When storing Hizentra:
- Make sure you keep the medication away from children and pets.
- Make sure you do not use the medication after its expiration date.
- Do not store the medication above 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Protect the medication from light and heat. Make sure to store the medicine in the original carton.
Hizentra can be stored for as long as 30 months.
How Much Does Hizentra Cost?
Hizentra is expensive. However, the cost of this medication depends on various factors.
Factors Affecting Cost of Hizentra
- Patient’s insurance status
- Coinsurance regulation
- Individual prescriptions
- Sickness insurance
- Other factors
For patients who do not have insurance, the following table will provide an overview of the cost of Hizentra. Note that the prices are for the U.S. only.
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Where Can Patients Obtain Hizentra?
Hizentra can be obtained from any reputable specialty pharmacy. It may also be purchased over the Internet through online specialty pharmacies. However, there are risks to buying online, as you may end up with low-quality or counterfeit medication.
For these reasons, it is best to buy from a licensed online pharmacy. AmeriPharma Specialty Care is a reliable and certified online pharmacy that sells Hizentra and other immune therapy medications. AmeriPharma can also help with e-diagnoses in cases where patients do not have prescriptions.
For patients who cannot afford the cost of Hizentra, there are copay assistance relief programs. These programs are committed to appropriating timely resources to ensure that patients can commence immune globulin therapy as soon as possible.
These relief programs reduce financial burdens for patients and the members of their families.
Make sure you contact AmeriPharma Specialty Care if you are interested in co-pay assistance for Hizentra.
European Medicines Agency. 2018. “An Overview of Hizentra and why it is authorized in the EU.” p.1
Karim Tobgy, RPh was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. He graduated from Cairo University in 2009 and has been a practicing pharmacist for 12 years and is certified in Sterile Products (IV) & USP (797). The most rewarding part of his job is seeing the impact of his care as a Pharmacist on the patients’ quality of life. He is currently precepting students from Marshall B. Ketchum University. In his free time, he enjoys watching documentaries and playing soccer.