Actemra & Heart Attack
Studies have linked the rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra (tocilizumab injection) to serious side effects including heart failure, stroke, interstitial lung disease, and more than 1,100 deaths.
In early 2010, the FDA first approved the Roche manufactured drug, Actemra to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The drug works by reducing inflammation.
Over 1.5 million Americans have rheumatoid arthritis, which is a debilitating autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints of the hands, feet, knees, elbows, and ankles. Inflammation occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy joint tissue. This results in swelling and pain around the joints. If untreated, damage to cartilage and bone can occur. In some cases, irreversible joint deformity happens. This is why treatment is vital.
Roche cashed in on it, too. Actemra is Roche’s fifth highest-grossing drug, according to health and medicine publication STAT, netting $1.7 billion in global sales last year alone.
Actemra & Heart Attack
Just six years after approval, the FDA received nearly 14,000 side-effect reports involving Actemra. Some also implicated that Actermra was responsible for over 1,000 deaths. STAT found that out of those who died, hundreds were from a condition not on the label – heart attack. Heart attacks bring a 50% risk of death. Users of Actemra were 1.5 times more likely to have a heart attack.
History of Heart Attacks
The FDA has investigated Actemra several times since it was approved in 2010. In a 2012 review, the organization found out of 118 deaths, half were from a heart attack or cardiac arrest. Yet, the FDA did not issue any warnings. The only warning on Actemra’s label is about possible serious infections.
In fact, the complaints to the FDA over the years indicate that not only does manufacturer Roche fail to provide adequate warning labels, but also the drug may actually cause more adverse events than other drugs on the market. Moreover, those other drugs actually have accurate warning labels.
Actemra & Heart Attack Symptoms
The classic symptoms of heart attack include a feeling of extreme pressure on the chest and chest pain, including a squeezing or full sensation. This can be accompanied by pain in one or both arms, jaw, back, stomach, or neck.
Other symptoms of heart attack include shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, and a feeling of breaking out in a cold sweat. Although chest pain and pressure are the characteristic symptoms, women are somewhat more likely than men to experience heart attack that does not occur in this typical fashion.
Instead, some women with heart attacks may experience more of the other symptoms, like
- extreme fatigue
- a pressure in the upper back
How We Can Help
When you experience side effects from a dangerous drug, it can have devastating effects on your entire life. You may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and damages. The types of losses that can be recovered include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of an ability to work; and
- Pain and suffering
If a person dies from complications from a drug, family members may be able to recover damages for the wrongful death of their loved one, including:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses prior to death
- Loss of economic support; and
- Loss of companionship
If the conduct of a drug company in manufacturing and selling drug is found to be highly reckless, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the company and deter similar conduct in the future. If you developed a heart attack after taking Actemra, please speak to us to learn more about your rights.
Case evaluations are free of cost and without obligation. Call us today at (877) 513-9517 or contact us online to speak with an attorney about your options. We may be able to get you the help you need.