Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) experience a great deal of pain on a daily basis due to inflammation that wreaks havoc on the body. To lessen the degree of joint pain and joint damage, RA sufferers are prescribed medications that can come with their own pernicious side effects, such as lung disease, stroke, heart failure, and heart attacks. As such, when Actemra hit the market and was touted by its manufacturer as not carrying these deadly effects, this drug became a popular choice among doctors and RA sufferers.
What is Actemra?
Actemra (also known as tocilizumab) is a monoclonal antibody drug developed by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. First approved by the FDA in 2010, this drug has been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis, systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and most recently for giant cell arteritis. Patients can receive their medication either intravenously or by Actemra injection.
The Serious Side Effects of Actemra
The popularity of Actemra derived, in part, from the lack of serious side effects that other RA drugs, such as Humira and Remicade, carry. These side effects include:
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
- Interstitial lung disease
However, according to an article published by STAT, hundreds of people taking Actemra have indeed died from heart attacks, stroke, heart failure, and lung complications. In fact, these deadly side effects are shown to occur at the same rate as seen with other RA medications.
Actemra Can Cause Deadly Side Effects
The difference among the drugs is that, while the other drug manufacturers warned of these deadly side effects, Roche/Genentech chose to hide the ball, putting dollars above patients. As such, unlike other RA drugs, Actemra does not carry a warning label showing that these side effects can occur, deceiving patients and their doctors by making them believe that Actemra is a safer choice.
If you or your loved one have suffered any of the listed adverse effects after taking Actemra, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 713-622-7271. At Reich & Binstock, our drug injury lawyers have over 30 years of experience representing patients and families who have been harmed by dangerous drugs, and we are here to fight for you.