BIOLOGIC/DISEASE-MODIFYING ANTI-RHEUMATIC DRUG (DMARD)
Actemra is a prescription drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis who have had an inadequate response to one or more disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Actemra is also approved to treat children over age 2 with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Actemra is also referred to by its drug name, tocilizumab.
Actemra is a biologic drug. It is a genetically engineered antibody, or protein used by the immune system to identify and neutralize substances. It is believed to work by binding to and interfering with the activity of immune cells involved in inflammatory autoimmune attacks.
How do I take it?
Prescribing information states that Actemra is administered as a subcutaneous injection (under your skin) or an intravenous infusion (slow injection into your vein). As a subcutaneous injection, Actemra is administered once a week or every two weeks. As an intravenous infusion, Actemra is administered once every four weeks. It should be administered according to the frequency specified by the physician.
Actemra comes in a prefilled single-use syringe or single-dose vial.
The FDA-approved label for Actemra lists common side effects including respiratory tract infections, the common cold, headache, increased blood pressure, increased liver enzyme levels, and injection site reactions.
Rare but serious side effects listed for Actemra include serious infections, stomach and intestinal damage, and hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis and death.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Actemra — Genentech
Tocilizumab (Actemra) — Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center
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