What is Actemra?
Actemra (tocilizumab) can be described as a FDA-certified biological medicine that is administered by injection intravenously or under the skin for the treatment of patients suffering from covid-19, giant cell arteritis, scleroderma polyarticular juvenile or systemic juvenile arthritis, and the severe cytokine release syndrome. Actrema was FDA-approved for the treatment of COVID-19 on December 21, 2022. It is only available to certain adult patients. Patients in the pediatric age group (aged between 2 and 18 years) suffering from covid-19 continue to be able to access actrema with an emergency use authorization (eua).
Actrema is an antibody monoclonal that stops a protein that is present in the body that is known as interleukin-6 (il-6). When this protein activates, it triggers your immune system to become active, which causes inflammation as well as the manifestations and signs of the autoimmune condition. Because actrema blocks the interleukin-6 receptor. That is the way it's believed to prevent the immune system's capacity to become excessively active. This means that there's less inflammation and a decrease in the symptoms of autoimmune disorders. On a technical level, the mechanism of action (moa) of actrema can be described as being that it interacts with the receptors for il-6 (sil-6r and mil-6r) that have been proven to block il-6-mediated signaling via these receptors. Interleukin-6 is a proinflammatory cytokine that is produced by various types of cells, such as b- and t-cells. Monocytes, lymphocytes, and fibroblasts. Actemra may be combined with other drugs as part of the complete treatment.
The effects of actemra on the immune system the risk of contracting infections is frequent, and even more severe or fatal illnesses. Call your doctor if you are suffering from fever or chills, pains, fatigue, cough wounds on your skin, diarrhea, loss of weight, or burning sensations when you go to the bathroom. Actemra can also lead to a perforation (a tear or hole) within your stomach or your intestines. Inform your physician if you are experiencing stomach pain that is not accompanied by an alteration in your eating routine.
Actemra could also lead to liver troubles. Inform your physician immediately if you are experiencing left-sided stomach pains, vomiting, lack of appetite, fatigue, dark urine, stool that is colored with clay, or discoloration of the eyes or skin. When you first begin treatment using Actemra.Your doctor will conduct tests to ensure there is no tuberculosis or any other infection. When you are taking Actemra, it is possible that you will require regular physical examinations.
Before you take this drug
Do not take actemra if your body is allergic to it. Consult your doctor if you notice any indications of infection like a cold, fever, cough, or body aches. Also, tiredness as well as open sores or injuries, stomach pain or weight loss, pain in the urinary tract, or a cough that is accompanied by blood Consult your physician if you have suffered from or have been subjected to tuberculosis in the past or just recently went on a trip. Certain infections are more prevalent in specific regions around the globe, and it is possible that you were infected during your travels.
To ensure that actemra isn't harmful to you, inform your physician whether you suffer from:
- Chronic or active disease.
- Diverticulitis or ulcers on the stomach and intestines of your body.
- Hepatitis B (or if you're a carrier of the virus).
- If you've received or plan to receive vaccines.
Actemra could increase the risk of getting certain types of cancer. Talk to your physician about the possibility of developing cancer. Consult your doctor if you are breastfeeding or pregnant. If you're expecting, tell your doctor about the time you had actemra during the pregnancy. It could affect your baby's vaccine schedule in the initial months of their life. Your name could be included in a pregnancy registry to monitor the effect of tocilizumab on the infant.
How to take Actemra?
Actemra is recommended for the treatment of
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): adult patients with moderately or extremely active rheumatoid arthritis who have attempted at least one of the disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) but had no treatment
- Giant cell arteritis (gca): adults suffering from massive arteritis of the cell
- Systemic sclerosis-associated interstitial disease (ssc-ild): Adult patients who suffer from interstitial sclerosis, a systemic disease, can slow down the pace of loss in lung function.
- Polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (pjia): patients 2 to 10 years old with active juvenile polyarticular idiopathic arthritis
- Sjia: systemic juvenile arthritis (sjia): patients 2 years old and over with active systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- Cytokine release syndrome (crs): affects adults and pediatric patients 2 to 10 years old or older with chimeric antigen receptor (car) t cells that cause dangerous or life-threatening cytokine release syndrome.
- Covid-19 is fda-certified for adult: patients who are admitted to the hospital with covid-19, have been prescribed corticosteroids for systemic use, and require oxygen supplemental therapy as well as non-invasive or invasive ventilation as well as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ecmo).
- COVID-19 emergency utilization authorization for children (2 years old or not more than 18 years old): having COVID-19 taking corticosteroids systemically and needing an oxygen supplement that is non-invasive or mechanical ventilation that is not invasive, such as the ecmo
Take bacteria as directed by your physician. Make sure you follow the instructions on the label of your prescription and go through all the medication manuals or directions sheets. Before using actemra, your doctor might test you for tuberculosis or any other infection. Actemra is administered under the skin or through the vein. It is generally given each week for 1 to 4 weeks to treat most ailments. In the case of CRS, just one dose is typically administered.
What should be avoided?
If injected into a vein, medication is administered slowly for approximately 1 hour. Take note of and follow all instructions for use that are provided with the medication. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is difficult to comprehend how to apply the injection. Make an injection only when you're prepared to administer it. Contact your doctor if the medication is cloudy, altered in colour, or contains particles. Your doctor will tell you the best place to place actemra. Make sure you do not inject the same area twice in succession. Don't reuse needles, an autoinjector, or a syringe. Keep them inside an impervious punctured "sharps" container and dispose of it according to local or state laws. Make sure they are out of the reach of pets and children. It is possible to contract infections frequently, including serious or fatal ones. There will be frequent examinations by a doctor. If you've suffered from hepatitis A, the virus could return or worsen. There is a chance that you'll require liver tests when taking this medication and over the course of several months after you stop. Speak to your doctor if you plan to undergo an operation. Make sure you take all of your medicines according to the directions. Don't alter your dosage or cease using the medicine in the absence of a doctor's recommendation. Storage of actemra injection in the original packaging within a fridge be sure to keep it away from light and moisture. Avoid freezing. Recycle any prefilled syringes that aren't used by the expiration date. Deadline for expiration on the label of the medicine When removed from the refrigerator, the prefilled autoinjector or syringe may be stored for as long as 2 weeks at 86 F (30 C). Get rid of the autoinjector or syringe after just the first use, regardless of whether there's still some medicine inside. Actemra may have lasting consequences for the body. It is possible that you will require certain health tests every six months once you have stopped taking the medication.
Side effects of Actemra
Get medical assistance immediately if you experience signs of an allergic reaction to Actemra: hives; chest pain; difficulty breathing; the feeling like you might pass out; facial, lip, tongue, or throat swelling; and so on.
Call your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms including:
- Serious stomach cramp
Unusual bleeding Nosebleeds, bleeding gums, abnormal vaginal bleeding, and any uncontrollable bleeding—are signs that you should pay attention to; blood in urine or stool samples and coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds may also indicate abnormalities.
Liver problems: loss of appetite, right-sided stomach pain, vomiting, confusion, dark urine production, clay-coloured stool production, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
Signs of infection: fever, chills, aches, skin sores, diarrhoea, and burning when urinating; Signs of tuberculosis include coughing, shortness of breath, night sweats, loss of appetite, and weight loss, in combination with feeling fatigued. Are you suffering from perforation of the stomach or intestines? Here are signs you should pay attention to: Fever, Stomach Pain Symptoms, and Change in Bowel Habits
Have a runny or stuffy nose, sinusitis symptoms, and a sore throat
Notable symptoms: headache; increased blood pressure; abnormal liver function tests; Where the injection was given, it may cause discomfort such as swelling, soreness, burning, or irritation. This list is not comprehensive, and other side effects may also occur. Please contact your physician if any adverse reactions develop and report them immediately at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Interaction with Other Drugs
Sometimes it may not be safe to combine certain medicines together, as some can alter the blood levels of other drugs you take, which can increase side effects or make medications less effective. Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, particularly any used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, such as: Abatacept and Etanercept; Anakinra; or Adalimumab, Cerolizumab, Golimumab, Infliximab, or Rituximab are available as treatments. This list is not comprehensive, as many other drugs may also interact with tocilizumab, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all potential interactions have been listed here.