Drug Class: Biologics (IL-inhibitor)
Brand Names: Actemra
Injection: For adults under 100 kg (220 lbs): 162 mg self injection using a prefilled syringe every other week and then weekly, based on clinical response. For adults over 100 kg: 162 mg injection every week.
IV Infusion: Dosage is based on body weight. For adults with RA, beginning with 4 mg/kg every 4 weeks, based on clinical response.
Dosages for children: The dosages listed above are those typically prescribed for adults aged 18-65. Dosages for children can vary. Ask your doctor about the appropriate dosage for your child.
Potential Side Effects
Headaches; itching, pain, redness or swelling at the injection site; infusion reaction during or shortly after treatment (including blood pressure changes, chest pain, difficulty breathing and hives).
Women of childbearing age should use effective contraception during treatment.
All biologics suppress the immune system and may increase your risk of infections. Tell your doctor if you have an active infection. Do not start treatment if you have a serious or recurrent infection (such as pneumonia). You should be tested for tuberculosis before starting this medication. Do not get a live vaccine when taking biologics.
This medication may lower white blood cell and platelet counts, which may make it hard for your body to fight infections and stop bleeding. It has also been linked to high cholesterol and triglycerides, a type of blood fat. You should have regular cholesterol tests. Perforations of the gastrointestinal tract have been reported in patients taking this medication, most often in those who also used NSAIDs. Tell your doctor if you have severe or persistent stomach pain.
LAST UPDATED: 03/28/2014