The rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, drug Actemra has been linked to heart attack, heart failure, stroke, pancreatitis, lung disease, gastrointestinal perforation, and other serious side effects.
What is Actemra?
Actemra is a prescription drug that is used to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or giant cell arteritis (GCA) in adults. It is also approved for use in children over the age of two to treat polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (PJIA) and SJIA (Systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis). The medication is administered by intravenous infusion or through single-use, prefilled syringes at home. Actemra is manufactured by Roche and the company’s subsidiary Genentech.
The manufacturer’s website notes Actemra’s side effects as: upper respiratory tract infections (common cold, sinus infections); headache; hypertension; injection site reactions; hepatitis B infection; and serious allergic reactions.
Is Actemra Safe?
An article published by STAT News suggests that hundreds may have died while taking Actemra. The STAT News investigation found “1,128 deaths and thousands of serious side effects, including heart attack, stroke, heart failure, interstitial lung disease and pancreatitis.”
Actemra entered the U.S. market in 2010. Other drugs that were available at the time for the treatment of RA came with warnings about heart attacks, heart failure or lung complications. Actemra’s label did not include those same warnings.
Neither Roche nor the FDA has made any movement toward changing the Actemra label to warn patients of the seeming link between the drug and these serious side effects. In fact, the FDA only approved Actemra’s use for giant cell arteritis in May 2017.
It is believed that the actual number of deaths among Actemra users is likely higher than what has been documented because the FDA monitoring system captures only a fraction of adverse events. Patients and their doctors are not obligated to report these events to the FDA or to drug companies. Experts have estimated that the filings represent only about 10 percent of adverse events that may have occurred.
Is an Actemra Lawsuit Right for Me?
Patients and family members of those injured by the use of the prescription medication Actemra may be eligible to file an Actemra lawsuit for their injuries. Those experiencing heart attacks, strokes, lung disease, GI perforations, or other serious injury while taking Actemra should seek advice from a legal expert. Patients may eligible for compensation through an Actemra lawsuit for their medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.