"June 7, 2012 -- A new study shows that the drug Actemra may be a more effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis than the drug Humira when the medications are used by themselves.
Both medications are in a class called biologics, whi"...
RISK OF SERIOUS INFECTIONS
Patients treated with ACTEMRA are at increased risk for developing serious infections that may lead to hospitalization or death [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, ADVERSE REACTIONS]. Most patients who developed these infections were taking concomitant immunosuppressants such as methotrexate or corticosteroids.
If a serious infection develops, interrupt ACTEMRA until the infection is controlled.
Reported infections include:
- Active tuberculosis, which may present with pulmonary or extrapulmonary disease. Patients should be tested for latent tuberculosis before ACTEMRA use and during therapy. Treatment for latent infection should be initiated prior to ACTEMRA use.
- Invasive fungal infections, including candidiasis, aspergillosis, and pneumocystis. Patients with invasive fungal infections may present with disseminated, rather than localized, disease.
- Bacterial, viral and other infections due to opportunistic pathogens.
The risks and benefits of treatment with ACTEMRA should be carefully considered prior to initiating therapy in patients with chronic or recurrent infection.
Patients should be closely monitored for the development of signs and symptoms of infection during and after treatment with ACTEMRA, including the possible development of tuberculosis in patients who tested negative for latent tuberculosis infection prior to initiating therapy [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
ACTEMRA (tocilizumab) is a recombinant humanized anti-human interleukin 6 (IL-6) receptor monoclonal antibody of the immunoglobulin IgG1κ (gamma 1, kappa) subclass with a typical H2L2 polypeptide structure. Each light chain and heavy chain consists of 214 and 448 amino acids, respectively. The four polypeptide chains are linked intra- and inter-molecularly by disulfide bonds. ACTEMRA has a molecular weight of approximately 148 kDa.
ACTEMRA is supplied as a sterile, preservative-free solution for intravenous (IV) infusion at a concentration of 20 mg per mL. ACTEMRA is a colorless to pale yellow liquid, with a pH of about 6.5. Single-use vials are available for intravenous administration containing 80 mg per 4 mL, 200 mg per 10 mL, or 400 mg per 20 mL of ACTEMRA. Injectable solutions of ACTEMRA are formulated in an aqueous solution containing disodium phosphate dodecahydrate and sodium dihydrogen phosphate dehydrate (as a 15 mmol per L phosphate buffer), polysorbate 80 (0.5 mg per mL), and sucrose (50 mg per mL).
ACTEMRA solution for subcutaneous administration is supplied as a sterile, colorless to yellowish, preservative-free liquid solution of approximately pH 6.0. It is supplied in a 1 mL ready-to-use, single-use prefilled syringe (PFS) with a needle safety device. Each device delivers 0.9 mL (162 mg) of ACTEMRA, in a histidine buffered solution composed of ACTEMRA (180 mg/mL), polysorbate 80, L-histidine and L-histidine monohydrochloride, L-arginine and L-arginine hydrochloride, L-methionine, and water for injection.
What are the possible side effects of tocilizumab (Actemra)?
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Serious and sometimes fatal infections may occur during treatment with tocilizumab. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as:
- fever, flu symptoms, mouth and throat ulcers, weight loss, feeling very tired;
- sores in your mouth and throat or on your skin;
- easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum);
- purple or red pinpoint spots under...
Last reviewed on RxList: 11/4/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Actemra Information
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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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