You are not alone according to the Arthritis Foundation. More than 50 million American adults and children have arthritis, making it the number one disability in the country. Rheumatoid arthritis in particular impacts 1.5 million Americans.
Actemra®, generically known as tocilizumab, is prescribed to treat moderate to severe RA in adults, adults with GCA and children over 2 years old with PJIA or SJIA. It is an interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor inhibitor, also known as a biologic response modifier, that work by targeting parts of the immune system that cause joint and tissue damage. However, these types of medications may affect your immune system and potentially increase the risk of infections and other severe effects. On the market since 2010, Actemra has been linked to serious complications and even death. If you or your loved one developed complications or died after using Actemra, you may have a claim.
Potential Actemra Side Effects
Patients who have used Actemra have reported a number of potential complications and even death. They include:
Interstitial lung disease
Contact An Actemra Attorney
If you or a loved one have taken Actemra and suffered serious side effects, including death, you may have a potential claim. For more information, contact Motley Rice medical attorney Kimberly Barone Baden at 1-800-768-4026 or via email.
Actemra, manufactured by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, is administered through two methods: a subcutaneous injection that patients or caregivers may give at home or an IV given at a doctor’s office.
The current label for Actemra does not warn about any association with serious side effects such as heart attacks, strokes and heart failure. However, an investigation by STAT News published in June 2017 found that hundreds of people died while taking Actemra, but no one alerted patients taking the drug. STAT analyzed more than 500,000 side-effect reports on rheumatoid arthritis drugs and found that the risks of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and other conditions were as high or higher for Actemra patients compared to reports from patients who were prescribed competing drugs.
In one study cited by STAT News, a comparison of Actemra with another arthritis drug Enbrel found that “rates of stroke and heart failure were about 1.5 times higher in Actemra patients,” a difference some experts told STAT they considered to be “worrisome.”
In addition, according to STAT News, the FDA received 132 reports of pancreatitis and 222 reports of interstitial lung disease in patients who used Actemra between 2010 and 2016.
In 2011, at Genentech’s request, the FDA required that “fatal anaphylaxis” be added to Actemra’s label as a potential side effect following two deaths linked to the drug. The FDA has received roughly 1,128 reports of deaths that occurred after taking Actemra, though what role the drug played in the deaths, if any, remains under review, according to STAT News.