Dupixent, or dupilumab, is a revolutionary drug that has transformed the lives of many people dealing with debilitating conditions such as moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (eczema), asthma, and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps. However, the cost of this life-altering treatment often raises concerns. Here, we delve into the complexities of Dupixent’s pricing, aiming to offer a clear perspective on its financial implications.
How Much Does a Dupixent Shot Cost?
The Price without Insurance
Based on various online forums and resources, the retail price of Dupixent without insurance in the United States can be as high as $3,500 for a box containing two doses. This equates to approximately $1,750 per shot, making the annual cost a staggering $20,000 to $40,000, depending on the patient’s dosage requirements.
Insurance: A Game Changer?
Many individuals have managed to mitigate these costs using their health insurance coverage. Coverage can vary greatly depending on the specifics of the individual’s plan. Co-pays can range from as little as $75 to as high as $2,000 per month. Additionally, some insurance plans may cover the entire cost of Dupixent, allowing patients to receive their treatment without any financial burden.
Coping with Costs: Dupixent MyWay
The manufacturers of Dupixent, Sanofi and Regeneron, offer a co-pay program known as Dupixent MyWay. This patient assistance program can cover up to $13,000 per year of out-of-pocket costs for those with commercial insurance plans. If eligible, patients could pay as little as $0 for their treatment.
However, the program does have some limitations, including income restrictions and ineligibility for those covered under federal or state healthcare programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid.
The Cost of Dupixent Around the Globe
The cost of Dupixent is not exclusive to the US. In Canada, Dupixent’s annual price tag is about $30,000 CAD, translating to roughly $4,000 CAD per month. Meanwhile, Australians with qualifying prescriptions can get Dupixent for a much lower price of $42.50, or $6.60 with a concession.
Why is Dupixent So Expensive?
The high cost of Dupixent can be attributed to several factors. For one, the research, development, and clinical testing of new drugs are often costly endeavors. As Dupixent is a relatively new drug approved by the FDA in 2017, a significant part of its price goes towards recouping these initial investments.
Additionally, Dupixent is a type of biologic drug, which are generally more complex and expensive to manufacture than traditional, chemically synthesized drugs.
Looking Ahead: Will Dupixent’s Price Decrease?
There is no concrete timeline for when a generic version of Dupixent will become available, which could potentially lower the cost. In the meantime, patients are encouraged to explore all available avenues for reducing their out-of-pocket expenses, such as insurance coverage, co-pay cards, patient assistance programs, and even shopping around for better prices at different pharmacies.
FAQs about Dupixent Costs
How Many Injections of Dupixent are Required?
Dupixent is typically administered through subcutaneous injection every other week, following an initial loading dose. However, the frequency may vary based on individual patient needs and their specific condition. For instance, children under 12 with atopic dermatitis usually receive one shot every four weeks.
Is Dupixent Covered by Medicare?
Medicare coverage for Dupixent can be quite nuanced. Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) may cover some of the cost of Dupixent. However, the exact amount will depend on the specifics of the patient’s Part D plan, including their deductible, co-insurance, and out-of-pocket maximums. Patients are strongly encouraged to contact their Medicare plan directly to get the most accurate and up-to-date information.
What Side Effects Can Dupixent Cause?
As with any medication, Dupixent may cause side effects. Some patients have reported conjunctivitis (pink eye), injection site reactions, and cold sores in the mouth or on the lips. Less common side effects can include more serious eye problems like keratitis. However, these side effects tend to be the exception rather than the rule. Patients should discuss potential side effects with their healthcare provider to make an informed decision about their treatment.
Can the Cost of Dupixent Change?
The cost of Dupixent can fluctuate based on several factors. These may include changes in the manufacturer’s price, adjustments in insurance coverage, updates to Medicare or Medicaid benefits, and variations in pharmacy charges. It’s essential for patients to regularly review their treatment costs and explore any available savings or assistance programs.
What if I Can’t Afford Dupixent?
If Dupixent’s cost is prohibitive, there are several avenues you can explore. Apart from the Dupixent MyWay program, some non-profit organizations provide financial aid to individuals who can’t afford their prescription medications. Furthermore, speaking with a healthcare provider or a pharmacist could unearth additional resources or alternative treatment options that are more affordable.
When Will a Generic Version of Dupixent Be Available?
The availability of a generic version of Dupixent depends on various factors, including patent protection periods and FDA approval processes. No generic version was available. Patients looking forward to a generic version should stay in contact with their healthcare providers for updates on new developments.
How Effective is Dupixent?
Dupixent has been shown to be effective in treating atopic dermatitis, asthma, and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis. Many patients report significant improvements in their symptoms, quality of life, and the severity of their condition. However, the effectiveness can vary between individuals. Your healthcare provider will monitor your response to the treatment and make any necessary adjustments.
Can Dupixent be Used with Other Medications?
Yes, Dupixent can often be used in combination with other medications, depending on the specifics of the individual’s condition. Some patients may continue to use topical medications along with Dupixent. However, patients should always consult with their healthcare provider before starting or stopping any medication.
How Long Does it Take for Dupixent to Work?
The timeframe for seeing improvement after starting Dupixent can vary. Some patients report seeing benefits within two weeks, while others may need several months before significant changes are noted. As each person’s body responds differently to treatment, patience is essential. Regular consultation with a healthcare provider will ensure the treatment is working as expected.
Is Dupixent a Steroid?
No, Dupixent is not a steroid. It is a biologic drug, specifically a monoclonal antibody, which works by targeting and inhibiting specific pathways in the immune system that contribute to inflammatory diseases like atopic dermatitis and asthma.
Is There Any Way to Lower the Cost of Dupixent?
The cost of Dupixent can be reduced through various programs and strategies. The manufacturer, Sanofi, offers a co-pay card that can reduce out-of-pocket expenses for eligible patients. Also, some patients might qualify for patient assistance programs or might consider ordering through specific specialty pharmacies, which might offer lower costs. Always consult with a healthcare professional or a financial counselor knowledgeable about healthcare costs to explore your options.
How is Dupixent Administered?
Dupixent is administered as a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection. The injections are usually given every other week after an initial loading dose, though this can vary based on the specifics of the patient’s condition and their healthcare provider’s recommendations. The drug comes in a pre-filled syringe, and after proper training, patients can often administer the injections themselves at home.
Does Dupixent Cause Weight Gain?
Weight gain is not listed as a common side effect of Dupixent. However, every individual responds differently to medication, and changes in weight can sometimes occur due to various factors. If you have concerns about unexpected weight changes while using Dupixent, it is recommended to consult your healthcare provider.
Can I Stop Taking Dupixent if I Feel Better?
While it may be tempting to discontinue Dupixent when symptoms improve, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your treatment regimen. Stopping treatment prematurely may lead to the return or worsening of symptoms.
Is There a Patient Assistance Program for Dupixent?
Yes, the manufacturers of Dupixent offer a patient assistance program known as Dupixent MyWay. The program provides a range of support services including financial assistance options, insurance navigation help, and even nurse support for those starting the medication. Eligibility criteria apply, so it’s advisable to discuss this option with your healthcare provider or contact the Dupixent MyWay program directly.
Does Dupixent Work for Severe Eczema?
Dupixent is approved for treating moderate to severe atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema) in patients who are not adequately controlled with topical therapies, or when those therapies are not advisable. Clinical trials and patient reports indicate that Dupixent can significantly reduce itch and improve the overall skin condition in many individuals with severe eczema.
Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Dupixent?
There’s no specific warning or contraindication about consuming alcohol while taking Dupixent. However, alcohol can sometimes exacerbate symptoms of the conditions Dupixent is used to treat, like atopic dermatitis and asthma. It’s always a good idea to discuss any potential lifestyle interactions with your medication with your healthcare provider.
How Do I Store Dupixent?
Dupixent should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). The pre-filled syringes should be kept in the original carton to protect them from light. If needed, Dupixent can be kept at room temperature up to 77°F (25°C) in the original carton for up to 14 days. After being removed from the refrigerator, the medication must be used within this timeframe or disposed of.