Eli Lilly and Company recently announced that the FDA has approved the use of Cyramza with FOLFIRI as a second-line treatment for colorectal cancer. This treatment, previously approved for use with advanced or metastatic gastric and lung cancer, now provides metastatic colorectal cancer patients with another biologic to use in the fight against their disease.
What is CYRAMZA?
Cyramza is a prescription medicine used for treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. Cyramza is grouped within a class of medications called biologics, which are therapies derived from human cells.
Who is the new drug an option for?
According to the FDA, Cyramza was approved in combination with FOLFIRI for metastatic colorectal cancer patients who progressed on a first line of a bevacizumab, oxaliplatin and fluoropyrimidine containing regimen.
In which ways is the new drug different than what is currently available for patients?
Cyramza is an antiangiogenic therapy. Angiogensis is the process by which the body makes new blood vessels; Cyramza seeks to “starve” the tumor by decreasing its supply of blood. Both Avastin and Cyramza are antiangiogenic, but they utilize different methods of action. There is currently not data to provide an indication if a person would respond more effectively to one drug or the other.
How much of a survival advantage does this give me than what is already available?
Everyone’s body is different and it’s hard to answer this question. However, in the clinical trial, patients on Cyramza survived 1.6 months longer than those in the control group.
What are the most common side effects? How can I be best prepared to handle these side effects?
The side effects of Cyramza are similar to that of Avastin. The most common side effects were diarrhea, low blood count of certain white blood cells, decreased appetite, nosebleeding, and mouth sores.
Is it infused or a pill?
This drug is taken intravenously. The treatment is performed every 2 weeks and typically lasts an hour. This drug should be administered in the same session that Folfiri is administered.
Will my insurance cover this new drug?
With the FDA approval of Cyramza, insurance will approve the expense per the guidelines of the individual’s health plan. This treatment will also be approved through Medicare when the treatment is considered reasonable and medically necessary and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has updated their coverage policy.
What will the out-of-pocket expense be?
With each plan providing varying levels of coverage, it is hard to say what one’s individual out-of-pocket cost will be. However, Eli Lilly & Company offers to review your insurance benefits and provide guidance that may help to confirm the coverage level for your use of Cyramza. Visit lillypatientone.com to learn more about this program.
Is there a copay/financial help relief program? How do I access it?
The Lilly PatientOne website offers a collection of services to financially assist patients who are prescribed Cyramza. From reimbursement and co-pay assistance to their Patient Assistance Program, which provides your eligible medication at no cost if you qualify, they have options to help you in your treatment plan. Visit their website or call 1-866-4PatOne to learn more and find out if you qualify.
We’re here to help. Check out the original press release for more specifics about this new approval and pose your questions in the comments. We’ll do our best to get them answered! Don’t forget, the Colon Cancer Alliance serves as a source of information about colon health. If you have questions or are in need of support, please contact our free Helpline at (877) 422-2030.
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