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Heart, Lung, and Pancreatic Complications
Gibbs Law Group’ personal injury attorneys are investigating legal claims on behalf of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers who reportedly experienced serious cardiovascular events, lung complications, or even death after receiving Actemra (tocilizumab) intravenously or by subcutaneous injection.
Heart, Lung, or Pancreatic Injuries from Actemra?
RA patients who have suffered serious side effects after receiving Actemra may have legal claims against the drug’s manufacturer. Learn more by speaking privately to an experienced personal injury attorney, free.
STAT: Actemra may be More Dangerous than Other RA Drugs
According to an investigative report by health and medical science publication STAT News, although these risks are not disclosed by the drug’s manufacturer, RA patients on Actemra are equally likely or even more likely than patients on competitor drugs to suffer serious complications, including:
- Heart failure
- Pancreatitis (potentially lethal inflammation of the pancreas)
- Heart attack (myocardial infarction)
- Cardiac arrest
- Interstitial lung disease (potentially lethal scarring of lung tissue)
Other reported side effects include:
- Tachycardia (abnormally rapid heart rate)
- Hair loss
STAT further noted that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received reports of 1,128 people who died after receiving Actemra, including a 73-year-old man who suffered a lethal brain bleed and a 62-year-old woman who died of a heart attack attributed to Actemra in 2014.
Actemra Label Doesn’t Disclose Serious Side Effects
People afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition characterized by joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation, are at increased risk of heart disease than non-RA patients.
Additionally, STAT reports that competitor RA drugs like Humira and Remicade also carry risks of serious and sometimes-lethal cardiovascular side effects, as well as lung complications.
Actemra, however, is the only drug that fails to warn patients about any of these complications. STAT reports that Actemra patients suffered interstitial lung disease, heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure as often as Humira users and more often than Remicade users, though none of these side effects appear on the Actemra label.
What is Actemra (Tocilizumab)?
Actemra, or generic tocilizumab, is an immunosuppressive drug used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (PJIA), systematic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA), and giant cell arteritis (GCA).
In patients with RA, Actemra is intended to slow disease progression and improve physical function. It can be delivered via intravenous infusion or injected subcutaneously, or below the skin.
According to Actemra marketing materials, the drug is prescribed to patients “after at least one other medicine called a Disease Modifying Anti-rheumatic Drug (DMARD) has been used and did not work well.”
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