MSWA plays key role in providing improved access to Tysabri®

18 April 2024

As of 1 February 2024, the federal government approved subcutaneous natalizumab (Tysabri®) for individuals with relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Before this, Tysabri® was only available as a monthly intravenous infusion administered in a hospital or infusion clinic.

As part of the implementation of the Tysabri® subcutaneous injection, MSWA will play a key role in setting up access to this service, as other clinical settings such as hospitals and GP clinics put in place processes to receive patients ongoing.

MSWA Research Coordinator Julia Tran sat down with MSWA Clinical and Residential Services Manager Vanishree Chetti and MSWA Neurological Liaison Nurse Rochelle Brown to chat about the new form of Tysabri®, the role MSWA will play in accessing this treatment option and what that means for improving access to people with RRMS.

What does the new form of Tysabri® mean for people with MS?

Vanishree Chetti: The main advantage is shorter service time. This announcement means individuals with RRMS will now have access to a nurse to administer the Tysabri® injection at our MSWA sites.

The entire process is shortened from being a couple of hours long to just a one-hour service. We will be complete pre- and post-checks before and after the administration.

Rochelle Brown: Clients are required to have two subcutaneous (under the skin) injections, each containing 150mg. This is because it would be uncomfortable for the Client to be administered 2ml subcutaneously as a single dose. (Tysabri infusion is 300mg).

Where can a Client access Tysabri®?

Vanishree Chetti: MSWA nurses have been trained and educated on the new administration of the injection. If we receive a referral, Clients will be requested to initially come to the MSWA Wilson services centre, but we will also have trained nurses at the Butler and Bunbury services centres.

Where a Client goes for the administration of Tysabri depends on their neurologist’s referral – this could be the GP, hospital or MSWA service centre.

What is the cost of accessing Tysabri® injections at MSWA

Rochelle Brown: There will be no cost for administration of Tysabri®. MSWA provides help to individuals living with MS which includes assistance with the administrations of various immunotherapies.

Vanishree Chetti: MSWA has always supported individuals living with MS, which includes assistance with the administration of the various Immunotherapies.

What is the most important information someone should know about Tysabri®?

Rochelle Brown: To guarantee the integrity of the medication, cold chain must be maintained from the point of manufacturing to the point of administration. This is why your MSWA nurse will ask you to collect your Tysabri® injections from the pharmacy on your way to your appointment at an MSWA service centre.

Vanishree Chetti: It is important that individuals complete pre-checks (blood work) prior to coming in and know their results.

As this is a new treatment form of Tysbari, MSWA has ensured the appropriate clinical governance is in place, including robust training of our nursing staff, to ensure the safe delivery of this treatment.

If you are new to the drug, then the first few injections will be administered in the hospital to ensure there are no adverse reactions. Individuals can then be referred to an MSWA nurse for ongoing administration at an MSWA site

If after those couple of doses there are no adverse reactions, individuals will transition into the community where MSWA Nurses will then continue the administration of the injections at an MSWA site. We will be providing an interim solution until additional health services are on board too.

It is a good initiative, and it is how MSWA can help the MS community.

This interview has been edited for clarity. This transcript is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Personalised consultations are essential for optimal care so it is important for individuals with MS to discuss with their medical team to identify the most suitable treatment for their specific situation