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Those who have been prescribed the medication Actemra often suffer serious side effects as a result of its use. Primarily used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, the drug has been linked to serious conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, and much more. The manufacturer of the drug is facing lawsuits based on these dangerous injuries to patients, as well as doctors who fail to properly prescribe the drug or warn patients about the potential side effects associated with the drug.
If you or someone you love has been harmed by Actemra, the highly experienced attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian are here to fight for you. Here, we answer frequently asked questions about the medication, as well as what to do once you have suffered injury.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Actemra?
Actemra is a prescription medication referred to as an interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor antagonist. Actemra is the drug brand name, but the medication is called “tocilizumab.” It is manufactured by Roche and its Genentech subsidiary. It was introduced in 2010 and was granted approval in 2017 for expanded treatment of other diseases. It is commonly used “off-label” as an immunosuppressant to treat other medical conditions.
The drug is administered through an intravenous infusion or an injection.
2. What medical conditions does Actemra treat?
Actemra is primarily used to treat adults to moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) after at least one other medication was used and did not work well. In almost all cases, doctors are required to try a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) before prescribing Actemra for the treatment of RA.
It is also used to treat:
- Adults with giant cell arteritis (GCA)
- Patients with active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (PJIA) two years of age and older
- Patients with active systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA) two years of age and older
The use of Actemra in young patients is still undetermined as to whether it is safe and effective for children to use this medication.
3. What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that typically affects elderly patients. It causes severe pain, swelling, and stiffness in joints. It is both chronic and progressive and affects about 1.5 million people in the United States. Those with this condition are often willing to risk severe side effects in order to alleviate the pain they suffer from RA. However, your doctor is required to properly warn you of the side effects, so you can make an informed decision about your own health. Failure to properly warn you is a type of medical malpractice.
4. What is a “failure to warn” by a doctor?
Actemra has known and very severe side effects. As such, your doctor is required to inform you of these side effects before prescribing this medication. If the doctor fails to warn you about the potential side effects, and you are injured as a result, you could be entitled to significant financial compensation. There are other drugs that have less severe side effects, and your doctor should discuss your options with you.
5. Why is Actemra a “second-line” therapy?
Because Actemra has known, severe side effects, it is only allowed to be prescribed once other medications have failed to work. Although it can be effective in treating RA and other medical conditions, doctors are required to try other medications first to reduce the risk of the side effects causing you harm. Sadly, too many doctors skip this necessary step, and never tell you. When you are injured as a result, the doctor can be held liable for malpractice.
6. What are Actemra’s side effects?
Actemra has a long list of side effects, but not all of them were properly listed on the drug’s labels, especially in the early days of its use. As a result, the company faces several “failure to warn” lawsuits based upon the patient’s injuries. These side effects include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- heart attack
- heart failure
- interstitial lung disease
- acute pancreatitis
- increased risk of infections due to immunosuppressant effect
- increase risk of blood loss
- worsening of current infections
- tears or perforation of the stomach
- liver problems (Hepatotoxicity)
- low white blood cell count
- nausea and vomiting
- dark “teak-colored urine”
- yellowing of skin and whites of eyes
- increase risk of cancer
- Hepatitis B infection
- Nervous system problems (including Multiple Sclerosis)
- serious allergic reactions
When you suffer these side effects without proper warning by either the manufacturer or your doctor, you are entitled to file a medical malpractice or product liability lawsuit to receive financial compensation for your injuries.
7. What experience does your firm have with Actemra lawsuits?
Our firm is highly experienced in representing patients injured by the use of Actemra. Our firm is highly experienced in the area of medical malpractice law and product liability law. We understand the complicated medical issues associated with this medication, as well as how to prove that your injuries were caused by it. Our team of experts is ready to put in the time on your individual case to make sure your rights are protected.
8. What compensation can I receive?
An injured person is entitled to receive financial compensation for their injuries that result from the use of Actemra. This compensation can include, but is not limited to:
- cost of medical bills
- future medical costs
- rehabilitation costs
- pain and suffering
- lost wages
- loss of consortium
- damages related to loss of ability to get pregnant
- wrongful death damages
This compensation is designed to help make you whole, both financially and so as to compensate you for the pain you suffered from using Actemra. You should not be on the hook for the medical and other costs caused by Actemra; the manufacturer or a negligent doctor should be responsible.
Actemra Lawyers in Philadelphia
When Actemra causes you harm, you are entitled to bring a medical malpractice and/or products liability claim to receive financial compensation. The experienced attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian have the knowledge and years of practice to fight for your rights.
Contact us online or call our law office at (800) 529-6162 for a free consultation.