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Sculptra (Formerly New Fill) for Facial Wasting -- Where to Find Information on the Patient-Assistance Program

December 31, 2004

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

SculptraTM (marketed in some countries as New FillTM) was approved in August 2004 by the FDA "for restoration and/or correction of the signs of facial fat loss (lipoatrophy) in people with human immunodeficiency virus." It was approved narrowly for this use because of the great need of many patients -- but the FDA wants to see more data before allowing its wider use for cosmetic purposes, where the need is not as great.

The product is expensive in the U.S. (about three times the price in Europe) -- in addition to the cost of doctors' services, which can vary greatly. It is important to find a physician who is well trained or experienced in its use.

Dermik Laboratories (owned by Sanofi-Aventis), the company now selling Sculptra in the U.S., is setting up a patient-assistance program that will provide free or reduced-cost drug to patients who meet certain income and other eligibility requirements. It does not pay the doctors' bill, however. The key issue will be to get Sculptra covered by regular health insurance, like other reconstructive medicine. Some companies are refusing to pay for it by claiming it is "cosmetic." But many patients cannot maintain their job or career without the treatment.

Information about Sculptra -- choosing a doctor, getting coverage through one's health insurance, or getting patient assistance if insurance is not available -- is changing rapidly:

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  • Currently (December 2004) the best information is available through an email list run by well-known activist Nelson Vergel. You can read an archive of the messages even without subscribing, at http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/pozhealth/ Also, you can subscribe by sending a blank email to PozHealth-subscribe@yahoogroups.com -- and then following the instructions you will receive from Yahoo to confirm that you want the subscription. If you subscribe you may want to use the Digest option (to get no more than one email per day), as currently there are about 30 new messages a week on Sculptra alone. Note the medical necessity letter to help doctors in requesting reimbursement, at http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/PozHealth/message/8047.

  • The official number for both doctors and patients to call for the Sculptra Access Program is 1-888-SCULPTRA (888-728-5787). Also see the official Web site, www.sculptra.com/. Note the patient information sheet, but also the physician information at www.sculptra.com/US/resources/SculptraPI.pdf.

You could also use a Google search, such as "Sculptra patient assistance" (without the quotes), or "Sculptra 2005" (also without the quotes) to locate recent articles.

A background article by Bob Roehr in the Dallas Voice, published December 2004 or earlier, is at www.dallasvoice.com/articles/dispArticle.cfm?Article_ID=4418.


ISSN # 1052-4207

Copyright 2004 by John S. James. Permission granted for noncommercial reproduction, provided that our address and phone number are included if more than short quotations are used.

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by AIDS Treatment News. It is a part of the publication AIDS Treatment News.
 
See Also
An HIVer's Guide to Metabolic Complications
TheBody.com's Lipoatrophy Resource Center
Ask a Question About Facial Wasting at The Body's "Ask the Experts" Forums
More on Lipoatrophy/Facial Wasting: Treatment

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