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Actemra is a drug that contains tocilizumab, a type of antibody capable of reducing the immune system’s response, blocking the action of a protein, IL-6, responsible for causing chronic inflammation in the joints, being indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis , helping to alleviate disease symptoms such as joint pain and swelling.

what is it for
Actemra is indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis in adults when other treatment options, such as methotrexate or anti-TNF, have not worked or have stopped working.

This drug is also indicated for the treatment of severe, active, and progressive rheumatoid arthritis in adults who have not been treated with methotrexate.

In addition, when used in conjunction with other medications, Actemra is also indicated for the treatment of polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis or systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and can be used for children over 2 years of age.

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Is Actemra recommended for the treatment of COVID-19?

Actemra has been studied to aid in the treatment of COVID-19, especially in the more advanced stages of the infection, when there is a large number of inflammatory substances being produced by the immune system, which can aggravate the clinical condition.

This is because Actemra helps neutralize the action of the protein, IL-6, which is produced by the body when there is acute inflammation, and is found in the body at high levels when a person has severe coronavirus infection.

According to two clinical studies carried out in England [1,2], with patients admitted to hospitals with pneumonia caused by coronavirus infection and who were not receiving mechanical ventilation, they had a decrease in the evolution of the infection, less possibility of needing mechanical ventilation or shorter hospital stay. Recently, emergency use of Actemra has been authorized in the United States by COVID-19 patients who are taking systemic corticosteroids.

However, more studies are needed in the long term because Actemra works by decreasing the immune system’s response, increasing the risk of a person having another type of infection after its use.

Actemra is an injectable medicine that should be given once a day, every 2 to 4 weeks, applied directly into a vein by a doctor, nurse or trained healthcare professional.

Doses vary with the type of rheumatoid arthritis and include:

Moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis: the recommended dose is 8 mg per kg of body weight, every 4 weeks. For people over 100 kg, the total dose of Actemra should not be more than 800 mg

Polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis: the recommended dose is 10 mg per kg of body weight for people under 30 kg, and 8 mg per kg of body weight for people over 30 kg, every 4 weeks

Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: The recommended dose is 12 mg per kg of body weight for people under 30 kg, and 8 mg per kg of body weight for people over 30 kg, every 2 weeks

The doses of Actemra can be changed by the doctor, if the person shows changes in laboratory tests or even can stop the treatment.

Also, before using Actemra, the treating physician should carry out blood tests to make sure the person does not have conditions that prevent them from using Actemra safely, such as liver disease or tuberculosis, for example.

Possible side effects

Some of the most common side effects that may occur during treatment with Actemra are a runny or stuffy nose, sinus pain, sore throat, headache, dizziness, stomach pain, thrush, gastritis, or increased blood pressure. .

By decreasing the action of the immune system, Actemra can increase the risk of infections such as pneumonia, herpes in the mouth or herpes zoster, and cause symptoms such as fever, chills, shortness of breath, cough, excessive tiredness, diarrhea, weight loss or feeling of burning when urinating.

In addition, Actemra can cause liver problems that are noticed with symptoms such as loss of appetite, stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, pale or white stools, or yellowing of the eyes and skin.

As Actemra is used in hospitals, in the event of an allergic reaction with symptoms such as difficulty breathing, a feeling of a closed throat, swelling in the mouth, tongue or face, or hives, treatment is immediate.

who should not use

Actemra should not be used by women who are pregnant or nursing, people who have severe infections or who have recently received the vaccine.

This remedy reduces the action of the immune system and, therefore, the doctor should be communicated before using Actemra, if the person has or has already had a health problem such as:

Liver problems such as liver failure

Kidney diseases such as kidney failure

Cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure or high cholesterol

Tuberculosis

Diverticulitis

Stomach or bowel ulcer

Multiple sclerosis

Diabetes

HIV

Hepatitis B

Cancer

In addition, Actemra should not be used by people who are allergic to tocilizumab or any of the ingredients in the formula.

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