Actemra & Heart Failure
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 Failure
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 failure.
History of Heart Failure
Observation and research have confirmed that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease than their peers of similar age and gender and that traditional risk factors and chronic inflammation associated with RA apparently play a significant role in that risk. In fact, researchers have been studying the effects of cardiovascular incidents like heart failure for years. Yet, the FDA still hasn’t added any warnings to the label.
In fact, the FDA has received thousands of complaints to the FDA over the years indicating heart failure is a side effect of Actemra. Yet, they haven’t demanded manufacturer Roche to provide adequate warning labels like similar drugs on the market.
Actemra & Heart Failure Symptoms
Heart failure can be ongoing (chronic), or your condition may start suddenly (acute).
Heart failure signs and symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea) when you exert yourself or when you lie down
- Fatigue and weakness
- Swelling (edema) in your legs, ankles, and feet
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Reduced ability to exercise
- A persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged phlegm
- Increased need to urinate at night
- Swelling of your abdomen (ascites)
- Sudden weight gain from fluid retention
- Lack of appetite and nausea
- Difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness
- Sudden, severe shortness of breath and coughing up pink, foamy mucus
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 heart failure 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.