Actemra is a drug used to treat  moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, Actemra has obtained an emergency use permit for use in COVID-19 sufferers with severe symptoms.

Actemra contains tocilizumab. Tocilizumab works by inhibiting the production of interleukin 6 or IL-6, so that excessive immune system responses can be inhibited.

This way of working is expected to be able to handle COVID-19 sufferers with severe symptoms who experience cytokine storms. This medicine will be given directly by a doctor or medical officer at the hospital.

What is Actemra

Active IngredientsTocilizumab
The groupPrescription drugs
CategoryAntiinterleukin type 6 immunosuppressant (IL-6)
BenefitTreating rheumatoid arthritis and treating COVID-19 with severe symptoms
Used byAdults and children ages
Actemra for pregnant and lactating womenCategory C:  Animal studies have shown adverse effects on the fetus, but there are no controlled studies in pregnant women.

Drugs should only be used if the expected benefit outweighs the risk to the fetus.

It is not known whether Actemra is absorbed into breast milk or not. Breastfeeding mothers are advised to consult a doctor before using this medicine.

Drug formInject

Precautions Before Using Actemra

Before using this drug, you need to pay attention to the following points:

  • Do not use Actemra if you are allergic to tocilizumab. Always tell your doctor about any allergies you have.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or are suffering from diabetes , duodenal ulcers, multiple sclerosis , heart disease, peptic ulcers , cancer, diverkulitis , or infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis or hepatitis B .
  • Tell your doctor if you are suffering from a weakened immune system, for example due to HIV/AIDS .
  • Tell your doctor if you plan to get vaccinated with live vaccines, while on treatment with Actemra. The use of these drugs can decrease the effectiveness of vaccinations and increase the risk of infection.
  • As much as possible, avoid contact with people who are suffering from infectious diseases that are easily transmitted, such as measles or the flu.
  • Tell your doctor that you are taking Actemra if you are going to have any surgery, including dental surgery.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking any medications, supplements, or herbal products.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy.
  • See your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction , serious side effects, or overdose after using Actemra.

Dosage and Instructions for Use Actemra

Actemra will be injected into a vein (intravenous / IV) by a doctor or medical officer under the supervision of a doctor. In general, the following are the dosages of Actemra based on the condition you wish to treat:

Condition: Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Adults: 4 mg/kg body weight (BW), once every 4 weeks. The dose can be increased to 8 mg/kg, once every 4 weeks via infusion, for 1 hour. The maximum dose is 800 mg per administration.

Condition: COVID-19 sufferer experiencing a cytokine storm

  • Adults and children weighing <30 kg: 12 mg/kg. The maximum dose is 800 mg per administration.
  • Adults and children weighing 30 kg: 8 mg/kg. The maximum dose is 800 mg per administration.

Kondisi: Systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis

  • Children weighing <30 kg: 12 mg/kg, once every 2 weeks.
  • Children weighing 30 kg: 8 mg/kg, once every 2 weeks.

Kondisi: Polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis

  • Children weighing <30 kg: 10 mg/kg, once every 4 weeks.
  • Children weighing 30 kg: 8 mg/kg, once every 4 weeks.

How to Use Actemra Correctly

Actemra injection will be given directly by a  doctor or medical officer under the supervision of a doctor. The drug will be injected into a vein (intravenous / IV), as recommended by the doctor.

Follow the injection schedule given by the doctor for effective treatment. During treatment with Actemra, you may be asked to undergo regular medical tests.

Actemra Interactions with Other Drugs

The following are some of the drug interactions that can occur when Actemra is used together with other drugs:

  • Increased risk of severe infection if used with adalimumab or  certolizumab 
  • Increased risk of infection when used with live vaccines, such as  measles vaccine

Side Effects and Dangers of Actemra

Some of the side effects that can occur after using Actemra are:

  • Pain, redness, itching or swelling at the injection site
  • Headache
  • Worried
  • Hard to sleep
  • Diarrhea or constipation

Consult a doctor if the above side effects do not subside immediately or are even more severe. You need to report to your doctor immediately if you experience an allergic drug reaction or more serious side effects, such as:

  • Severe stomach pain, diarrhea that doesn't stop, or severe constipation
  • Unusual bleeding, such as nosebleeds , bleeding gums, bloody urine , or coughing up blood
  • Symptoms of infection, such as fever , chills, cough , or sore throat
  • Jaundice , dark urine, or loss of appetite

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