Arentz Law Group, P.C., is currently accepting nationwide Actemra injury cases. Recently, the arthritis medication has been linked to hundreds of deaths and serious side effects including heart attack, stroke, lung disease, and pancreatitis. However, the drug’s manufacturer Roche never warned patients of these life-threatening risks. Our lawyers are standing by to help victims and their loved ones receive full compensation for injuries from this dangerous drug. If you, or a loved one, suffered injuries while on Actemra, please contact us immediately using the form on this page or calling us at (800) 305-6000, for a free case consultation.
Actemra (tocilizumab) is an injection for adults with chronic inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA). Actemra works by blocking inflammatory agents. Roche and its Genentech unit manufacture the drug. The FDA granted approval in 2010. Roche marketed the drug as a “unique” breakthrough that would “transform expectations” for patients and doctors. Traditional treatments for RA, which effects 1.5 million Americans, are known for terrifying side effects, such as heart attacks, heart failure, and deadly lung complications. So, patients and doctors rejoiced when Actemra hit the market with none of these associations.
Health concerns first emerged in 2009 before the drug even received FDA approval. In a Japanese study, 15 people died in a study of 5,000 patients. According to the Wall Street Journal, another 221 of those patients developed severe side effects like high fever and pneumonia.
STAT published another investigative study in June 2017, indicating that hundreds of patients died or suffered significant harm while taking the arthritis medication. In fact, STAT’s analysis of 500,000 side-effect reports on RA drugs revealed that the risk of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and other complications were as high or even higher for Actemra patients than for those taking competing drugs. At least, most of those medications warn about these risks on their labels. Actemra does not. The report also cautioned against pancreatitis and interstitial lung disease.
According to the STAT report, that out of 13,500 side-effect reports, at least 1,128 of these Actemra patients had died. However, acknowledging these side effects would eliminate the drug’s edge in the market. Consequently, the drug makers continue to keep patients in the dark as the body count continues to rise. STAT researchers urged the FDA to immediately consider mandating warnings for at least heart failure and pancreatitis.
A 2016 study indicates that Actemra patients had 50 percent more heart attacks and strokes than patients on Enbrel. Enbrel’s labeling has prominent warnings about cardiovascular disease, acknowledging that Enbrel may cause or worsen heart problems. Despite indications that Actemra may be far more dangerous, the drug carries no such warnings.
The STAT study made direct comparisons with Vioxx. Vioxx, another arthritis drug, was pulled from the market in 2004 after the drug demonstrated exceptionally high dangerous heart attack and stroke risks. However, these deadly cardiovascular risks were not on Vioxx’s label. They were not even discovered until Vioxx was on the market for several years and had already killed 60,000 people. Enbrel and other arthritis drugs have prominent warnings about heart attack risks. Actemra, like Vioxx, does not.
The medication has numerous life-threatening side effects that the manufacturer has refused to acknowledge, including:
More than 5 percent of patients will experience these common side effects:
If you, or a loved, were injured while taking this arthritis medication, a lawsuit may be the only way to hold the manufacturers responsible for not warning of the risks and receive the compensation you deserve. To learn more about your right to participate in a financial recovery, please contact us for a free case consultation using the form on this page or call toll free 24 hours a day at (800) 305-6000.