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Autoimmune Disorders

Senderra Specialty Pharmacy

 

 

What are autoimmune disorders?

An autoimmune disorder occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys healthy body tissue by mistake.

There are more than 80 types of autoimmune disorders and it can affect almost any part of your body.

An autoimmune disorder may result in:

  • The destruction of body tissue
  • Abnormal growth of an organ
  • Changes in organ function

Areas often affected by autoimmune disorders include:

  • Blood vessels
  • Connective tissues
  • Endocrine glands such as the thyroid or pancreas
  • Joints
  • Muscles
  • Red blood cells
  • Skin 

What's the difference between autoimmune disorders and autoimmune diseases? 

Immune system disorders cause abnormally low activity or over activity of the immune system.

Autoimmune diseases are cases of immune system overactivity where the body attacks and damages its own tissues.

What are the causes of autoimmune disorders?

Although the cause of an immune system disorder is unknown, you cannot catch the disorder from another. However, autoimmune diseases tend to run in families.

Certain genes may make some people more susceptible to develop an autoimmune disorder than others.

Depending on your genetic makeup, viruses, certain chemicals, and other things in the environment may trigger an autoimmune disorder.

Who's at risk for autoimmune disorders?

Although anyone, at any age, may have an autoimmune disorder, women are seen to develop different types of autoimmune disorders more often than men.

Typically, if you have one autoimmune disease, your chances of getting another are more likely.

 

What are the types of autoimmune disorders?

There are more than 80 types of autoimmune disorders.

Asthma & Respiratory Conditions

Asthma

Asthma is characterized by inflammation of the bronchial tubes with increased production of sticky secretions inside the tubes.

People with respiratory conditions or asthma experience symptoms when the airways tighten, inflame, or fill with mucus. Some people with asthma may go for extended periods without having any symptoms, interrupted by periodic worsening of their symptoms called asthma attacks. Others might have asthma symptoms every day. In addition, some people may only have asthma during exercise, or asthma with viral infections like colds.

Mild asthma attacks are generally more common. Usually, the airways open up within a few minutes to a few hours. Severe attacks are less common but last longer and require immediate medical help. It is important to recognize and treat even mild asthma symptoms to help you prevent severe episodes and keep asthma under better control.

Symptoms of an asthma attack include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness/pain/pressure.

Chronic Rhinosinusitis with Nasal Polyps (CRSwNP)

Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is one of the most common medical conditions worldwide, reported to affect almost 12% of the adult population.

It is characterized by inflammation of the nose and sinus cavities. About 20% of patients with CRS have nasal polyps, benign growths in the nasal cavities that are thought to originate from the ethmoid sinuses. Nasal polyps tend to be present in both sides of the nasal cavity. One-sided nasal polyps may need to be investigated further as they might be malignant nasal or sinus tumors.

The exact cause of chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) is unknown but biopsy of nasal polyp tissue in the western population demonstrates an elevated allergic type of cells known as eosinophils. Infection may also play a role, especially by bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. Typically, nasal polyps develop in adulthood in the 30s or 40s.

Symptoms of CRSwNP include nasal drainage, nasal congestion, facial pressure or pain, and a decreased sense of smell lasting for more than 12 weeks. Of these symptoms, nasal congestion and loss of smell tend to be the most bothersome.

Sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis is a disease characterized by the growth of tiny collections of inflammatory cells (granulomas) in any part of your body — most commonly the lungs and lymph nodes. But it can also affect the eyes, skin, heart and other organs.

The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown, but experts think it results from the body's immune system responding to an unknown substance.

Some research suggests that infectious agents, chemicals, dust and a potential abnormal reaction to the body's own proteins (self-proteins) could be responsible for the formation of granulomas in people who are genetically predisposed.

There is no cure for sarcoidosis, but most people do very well with no treatment or only modest treatment. In some cases, sarcoidosis goes away on its own. However, sarcoidosis may last for years and may cause organ damage.

Signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis vary depending on which organs are affected. Sarcoidosis sometimes develops gradually and produces symptoms that last for years. Other times, symptoms can appear suddenly and then disappear just as quickly. Many people with sarcoidosis have no symptoms. General symptoms can begin with fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, and pain and swelling in joints such as the ankles.

Systemic Sclerosis-Associated Interstitial Lung Disease (SSc-ILD)

Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a rare autoimmune connective tissue disease that can affect various internal organs. Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is the most common cause of death in patients with SSc, as well as the most common complication of SSc. Interstitial Lung Disease causes inflammation and scarring of the lungs, and is more likely to develop early in the course of SSc.

Standard treatment has traditionally been a combination of immunosuppressants. However, if these treatments do not stop progression of lung function, your healthcare provider may consider a biologic drug such as tocilizumab (Actemra). There is no cure for the disease, and the course of treatment can be somewhat unpredictable with some patients experiencing a slow decline over a long period of time, and some patients experiencing a rapid decline shortly after diagnosis.

Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a rare connective tissue disease. Interstitial lung disease is a common manifestion of SSc, and a leading cause of death. Symptoms of SSc-ILD include shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue and cough.

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Immune System Disorders

In response to an unknown trigger, the immune system may begin producing antibodies that instead of fighting infections, attack the body’s own tissues. Treatment for autoimmune diseases generally focuses on reducing immune system activity. Examples of autoimmune diseases not covered elsewhere include:

Lupus Nephritis

Lupus nephritis is a type of kidney disease caused by systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus). Kidney disease caused by lupus may get worse over time and lead to kidney failure. If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain your health.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome

The immune system attacks the nerves controlling muscles in the legs and sometimes the arms and upper body. Weakness results, which can sometimes be severe. Filtering the blood with a procedure called plasmapheresis is the main treatment for Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Infantile Spasms

These specific types of seizures are sudden, uncontrolled movements of a child’s neck, body, arms, and legs. They last only for a few seconds. Spasms are most common during the early morning or when a child wakes up from a nap.
Spasms can look different in each child. But you may notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Repetitive forward head nodding or bobbing
  • Bowing from the waist when sitting
  • Drawing up of knees when lying down
  • Extending or stiffening of the neck, trunk, arms, and legs
  • Crossing arms across body as if self-hugging
  • Thrusting arms to the side, elbows bent

Nephrotic Syndrome

A condition marked by very high levels of protein in the urine; low levels of protein in the blood; swelling, especially around the eyes, feet, and hands; and high cholesterol. Nephrotic syndrome results from damage to the kidneys’ glomeruli (the singular form is glomerulus). Glomeruli are a network of capillaries that filter waste and excess water from the blood and send them to the bladder as urine.

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Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. The signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis can vary widely based upon the amount of damage and nerves affected. Treatment can relieve MS symptoms and delay disease progression.

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) tend to have their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40. Sometimes the symptoms may improve, but then come back. Some may come and go, while others linger.

Keep track of your symptoms to help your doctor monitor the course of the disease and the effectiveness of the treatment.

Early Symptoms of MS:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Thinking problems
  • Clumsiness or a lack of coordination
  • Loss of balance
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness in an arm or leg

Once a diagnosis of MS has been made by a neurologist specializing in the disease, there are 4 typical patterns that the symptoms follow, however all symptoms can regress and progress unexpectedly;

Relapsing-remitting (RRMS): This is a pattern of relapses alternating with remissions that can last months or years

Primary-progressive (PPMS): This is a pattern of gradual disease progression with no remissions or obvious relapses

Secondary-progressive (SPMS): This is a pattern of relapses alternating with remissions followed by gradual progression of the disease

Progressive-relapsing (PRMS): This is a pattern of gradual disease with sudden relapses

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Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic, recurring disease that is identified by one or more raised, thick, pink to red, itchy patches that have silvery scales with a distinct border between the patch and normal skin.

The rash can appear anywhere but is usually on the scalp, elbows, knees, lower back and genitals. Occasionally, it can also affect the fingernails.

The rash can heal and come back and usually develops in early adulthood. Psoriasis can itch, burn, or sting but is not contagious and cannot spread from person to person.

The cause of psoriasis is unknown, however, research has shown that the disease is hereditary.

Psoriasis is the development of new skin cells before the old skin cells can shed from the body. Normally, skin cells are replaced every 28 to 30 days, however with psoriasis; new cells grow and move to the surface of the skin every 3 to 4 days. This build-up of new skin cells pushing against the old skin cells is the cause of the hallmark silvery scales of psoriasis.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is chronic disease of the joints. RA causes the joints to become swollen (inflamed), stiff, and painful.

Over time, inflammation may destroy the joint tissues which can limit daily activities and make it hard to walk and/or use the hands.

The disease is more common in women than in men, and typically begins between the ages of 40 to 60.

The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is unknown. RA is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body's natural defense system attacks the joints.

Components of the immune system attack the soft tissue that lines the joints (synovial tissue) and can also attack connective tissue in many other parts of the body such as blood vessels and lungs.

Eventually cartilage, bone, and ligaments of the joint erode (wear away) which causes deformity, instability, and scarring within the joint. Many factors including genetic predisposition may influence the pattern of the disease.

Unknown environmental factors (such as viral infections and cigarette smoking) are also thought to play a role.

The main symptoms of RA include pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints of the hands, wrists, elbows, feet, ankles, knees, or neck. In rare but severe cases the disease may also affect the eyes, lungs, heart, nerves, or blood vessels.

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Rheumatologic Disorders

Rheumatologic diseases can cause damage to your vital organs, including the lungs, heart, nervous system, kidneys, skin and eyes.

Rheumatologic diseases may result in conditions so severe that those who suffer from them cannot bathe or dress themselves. Additionally, a simple task such as walking can cause pain and be difficult or even impossible.

Some conditions include:

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is the most common type of lupus. SLE is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own tissues, causing widespread inflammation and tissue damage in the affected organs. It can affect the joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys, and blood vessels. There is no cure for lupus, but medical interventions and lifestyle changes can help control it.

Myositis

Myositis refers to any condition causing inflammation in muscles. Weakness, swelling, and pain are the most common myositis symptoms. Myositis causes include infection, injury, autoimmune conditions, and drug side effects. Treatment of myositis varies according to the cause.

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is a group of related childhood diseases that begin by age 16 and involve persistent or recurring inflammation of the joints. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis may also affect other organs or connective tissue. JIA is not the same thing as adult Rheumatoid Arthritis, although there are similarities.

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Other Autoimmune Disorders

Other autoimmune disorders include:

  • Addison disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Graves disease
  • Hashimoto thyroiditis
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Sjögren syndrome
  • Type I diabetes
 

Therapies & Medications

Therapies

As a national, accredited specialty pharmacy, Senderra provides education, proactive follow ups, and connect doctors with insurers for a more expedient prescription process for patients.

Senderra Specialty Pharmacy works with patients, doctors, and managed care providers to fulfill prescriptions for a number of medical conditions.

Senderra offers the following specialties:

Medications

Senderra offers the following medications for autoimmune disorders:

DUPIXENT is a prescription medicine used to treat people aged 6 years and older in combination with other medicines for the maintenance treatment of moderate-to-severe asthma whose asthma is not controlled with their current medicines. DUPIXENT helps prevent severe asthma attacks and can improve breathing. Dupixent may also help reduce the amount of oral corticosteroids needed while preventing severe asthma attacks and improving breathing. DUPIXENT is also used with other medicines for the maintenance treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis (CRSwNP) in adults whose disease is not controlled.

ENBREL - JIA

ENBREL is a prescription medication called a Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) blocker used to help patients with several autoimmune diseases including moderately to severely active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) in children ages 2 years and older. ENBREL works to achieve and maintain remission of JIA & works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

ENBREL - PSORIASIS

ENBREL is a prescription medication called a Tumor Necrosis Factor  (TNF) blocker. ENBREL is used to help patients with several  autoimmune diseases including chronic moderate to severe plaque  psoriasis in adults and children age 4 years and older. Enbrel works  to achieve and maintain remission of psoriasis, and works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with  inflammation.

ENBREL - RA

ENBREL is a prescription medication called a Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) blocker used to help patients with several autoimmune diseases including moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. ENBREL works to achieve and maintain remission of rheumatoid arthritis & works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

EXTAVIA

EXTAVIA (interferon beta-1b) is a prescription medicine used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis including clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults. EXTAVIA is similar to certain interferon proteins that are produced in the body.

GILENYA

Gilenya is used to treat a certain type of multiple sclerosis (relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis-MS). It is not a cure for MS but it is thought to help by preventing immune system cells (lymphocytes) from attacking the nerves in your brain and spinal cord. It helps decrease the number of episodes of worsening and may prevent or delay disability.

HUMIRA - JIA

HUMIRA is a prescription medication called a Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) blocker used to help patients with several autoimmune diseases including moderately to severely active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) in children ages 2 years and older. HUMIRA works to achieve and maintain remission of JIA & works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

HUMIRA - PSORIASIS

HUMIRA is a prescription medication called a Tumor Necrosis  Factor (TNF) blocker. HUMIRA is used to help patients with several autoimmune diseases including adults with chronic moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. HUMIRA works to achieve and maintain remission of psoriasis, and works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

HUMIRA - RA

HUMIRA is a prescription medication called a Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) blocker used to help patients with several autoimmune diseases including moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. HUMIRA works to achieve and maintain remission of rheumatoid arthritis & works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

ILUMYA

ILUMYA is a prescription medication used to help patients with  moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. ILUMYA works to achieve and maintain remission of psoriasis, and works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

KESIMPTA

KESIMPTA (ofatumumab) is used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS); (including relapsing-remitting MS). It is not a cure for MS, but it is thought to be an antibody targeting a protein called CD20, which is found on the surface of immune system B-cells. Kesimpta works by lowering the amount of B-cells that drive damaging inflammation in the nervous system and contribute to MS  development.

KEVZARA

KEVZARA is a prescription medication used to help adult patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. KEVZARA works to achieve and maintain remission of rheumatoid arthritis & works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

MAYZENT

Mayzent (siponimod) is used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis-MS including clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults. It is not a cure for MS but is thought to work by decreasing certain immune system cells (lymphocytes) which can attack the nerves in your brain and spinal cord. This helps decrease the number of flare-ups (relapses) and may help slow down physical problems caused by MS.

NUCALA

NUCALA is a prescription medicine used with other medicines for add-on maintenance treatment of severe asthma in people 6 years of age and older whose asthma is not controlled with their current asthma medicines. NUCALA helps prevent severe asthma attacks. NUCALA is also used for add-on maintenance treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) in adults whose disease is not controlled with nasal corticosteroids. NUCALA helps reduce symptoms such as nasal congestion, nasal discharge, mucus in the throat, loss of smell). NUCALA helps reduce the size of nasal polyps, helps reduce corticosteroid use, and the need for surgery.

OLUMIANT

OLUMIANT is a prescription medication used to help adult patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. OLUMIANT works to achieve and maintain remission of rheumatoid arthritis & works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

ORENCIA - JIA

ORENCIA is a prescription medication used to help patients with several autoimmune diseases, including patients ages 2 and older with moderate to severe polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). ORENCIA works to achieve and maintain remission of JIA & works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

ORENCIA - RA

ORENCIA is a prescription medication used to help patients with several autoimmune diseases, including adults with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. ORENCIA works to achieve and  maintain remission of rheumatoid arthritis & works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

OTEZLA - PSORIASIS

OTEZLA is a prescription medication that is used to help patients  with several autoimmune diseases including adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. OTEZLA works to achieve and maintain remission of psoriasis, and works by blocking one of the chemical  messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

PLEGRIDY

Plegridy (peginterferon beta-1a) is a prescription medicine used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults. Peginterferon is not a cure for MS, but it may help to decrease the number of episodes of disease worsening (relapses) and slow the worsening of the disease.

PURIFIED CORTROPHIN GEL

REBIF (interferon beta-1a) is used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults. It is a protein that is thought to work by preventing your immune system from attacking the nerves in your brain and spinal cord. This effect can decrease the number of periods of disease worsening (relapses) and prevent or delay disability. This drug is known as an immunomodulator. It is not a cure for MS.

RINVOQ

RINVOQ is a prescription medication used to help adult patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. RINVOQ works to achieve and maintain remission of rheumatoid arthritis & works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

SILIQ

SILIQ is a prescription medication used to help patients with  moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. SILIQ works to achieve and  maintain remission of psoriasis, and works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

SIMPONI ARIA - JIA

SIMPONI ARIA is a prescription medication used to help patients with several autoimmune diseases, including patients ages 2 and older with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). SIMPONI ARIA works to achieve and maintain remission of JIA & works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

SIMPONI - RA

SIMPONI/SIMPONI ARIA is a prescription medication used to help patients with several autoimmune diseases including adults with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. SIMPONI/SIMPONI ARIA works to achieve and maintain remission of rheumatoid arthritis & works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation. 

SKYRIZI

SKYRIZI is a prescription medication used to help adult patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. SKYRIZI works to achieve and maintain remission of psoriasis, and works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

STELARA - PSORISASIS

STELARA is a prescription medication used to help patients with several autoimmune diseases including adults and children age 6 years and older with moderate to severe psoriasis. STELARA works to achieve and maintain remission of psoriasis, and works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

TALTZ - PSORIASIS

TALTZ is a prescription medication used to help patients with several autoimmune diseases including people age 6 years and older with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. TALTZ works to achieve and maintain remission of psoriasis, and works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

TECFIDERA

Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) is used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). It is not a cure for MS. It helps decrease the number of episodes of worsening MS.

TREMFYA - PSORIASIS

TREMFYA is a prescription medication used to help patients with several autoimmune diseases including adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. TREMFYA works to achieve and maintain remission of psoriasis, and works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

XELJANZ - JIA

XELJANZ is a prescription medication used to help patients with several autoimmune diseases, including patients ages 2 and older with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). XELJANZ works to achieve and maintain remission of JIA & works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

XELJANZ - RA

XELJANZ/XELJANZ XR is a prescription medication used to help patients with several autoimmune diseases including adults with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. XELJANZ/XELJANZ XR works to achieve and maintain remission of rheumatoid arthritis & works by blocking one of the chemical messengers in the body associated with inflammation.

ZEPOSIA - MS

Zeposia (ozanimod) is a sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor modulator, which is thought to act by retaining certain white blood cells (lymphocytes) in the lymph nodes, thereby preventing those cells from crossing the blood-brain barrier into the central nervous system (CNS). Preventing the entry of these cells into the CNS reduces inflammatory damage to nerve cells.

 

The Benefits of a Specialty Pharmacy

What is a Specialty Pharmacy?

A specialty pharmacy is a state-licensed pharmacy that provides medications for people with serious health conditions that require complex therapies.

Specialty pharmacies connect patients who are severely ill with the medications that are prescribed for their conditions, provide services that are required for these
medications and support patients who are facing reimbursement challenges for frequently costly medications.

Benefits

The benefits of specialty pharmacy are not just economical - they also create real opportunities to advance patient care.

By coordinating care with other providers who offer these types medications, it gives doctors and hospitals an edge on improving patient outcomes while reducing costs associated with unnecessary hospitalizations and medications.

Other benefits of a specialty pharmacy include:

  • Specialty pharmacies offer 24/7 customer support, usually by phone and/ or sms. Specialty staff is known to not only be available for assistance, but to also reach out to their patients, including for things like refill reminders.

  • Personal patient care is what's so special about specialty pharmacies. They are able to offer their patients services like nursing support, advanced condition education, consultations with their pharmacist and free medication supplies.

  • These pharmacies are also known for having fast approvals and quick turnaround times on medications. They navigate the process on your behalf so that a determination for the most appropriate medication option can be reached quickly and easily.

  • Co-pay and funding assistance is usually offered by facilitating enrollment in support programs and programs dedicated to financial assistance with specific specialty medications. 

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