Actemra & Interstitial Lung Disease

Studies have linked the rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra (tocilizumab injection) to serious side effects including interstitial lung disease (ILD), stroke,  heart attack and more than 1,100 deaths.

About Actemra

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 & Interstitial Lung Disease

Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a condition where the tissue in the lungs becomes inflamed and scarred. When the lungs are inflamed, it can lead to shortness of breath and coughing. This can become very severe. Unfortunately, ILD is common for those with RA. Researchers do not know why.

Recently,  evidence suggests drugs like Acterma may make the condition worse. Serious cases of ILD have also been reported in RA patients receiving treatment with anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) drugs or tocilizumab. However, evidence to this effect is mixed. The risk factors of ILD in patients with RA have not been fully studied. Yet, Roche still keeps the drug on the market without warnings.

Lack of Warning

Many of the RA drugs on the market bring the same risks of ILD. The difference is the other drugs warn about ILD and Acterma does not. The FDA should monitor the safety of prescription medications. However, it doesn’t verify the adverse event reports it receives. If they did, they would have known to immediately consider warnings for ILD. Almost 58% of people with RA are at risk for ILD, but without the warnings, they don’t know it.

Not having a warning makes one medication seem safer than the other which has it.

Actemra & Interstitial Lung Disease Symptoms

The symptoms of Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) are

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry cough
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal enlargement of the base of the fingernails (clubbing)
  • Blue color of the lips, skin, or fingernails due to low blood oxygen levels (cyanosis)

 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 Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) 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.

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