All therapy decisions for treating our chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) involve trade offs. And there are many factors that should go into each decision.
One real world issue with IV drugs for CLL is the time it takes away from your life to sit in the infusion chair for hours with a needle in your arm.
This new formulation (Hycela) of an older drug solves that problem for some. It combines rituximab with the same enzyme that is used in the subcutaneous form of IVIG to ensure that the drugs diffuse adequately and get to where they are active. It can be infused in 5-7 minutes.
Subcutaneous therapies are not new. Another antibody that isn’t used much in CLL anymore, alemtuzumab or Campath that attacks CD52 can be given subcutaneously too.
If one elects for receive the often used chemo-immunotherapy mix of BR (bendamustine and rituximab) as CLL treatment, then after the first session, one could be in and out of the infusion chair in less than 30 minutes.
Here is the link to official FDA release