Actemra & Demyelination

Studies have linked the rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra (tocilizumab injection) to serious side effects including demyelination, 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 & Demyelination

By sending and receiving messages, nerves allow the ability of speech, sight, touch, and cognitive processes. An insulating material called myelin coats the nerves. When myelin becomes worn away or damaged, the nerves can deteriorate. This causes problems in the brain and throughout the body.  Demyelination happens when damage happens to the myelin around the nerves.

In 2013, a warning was sent to health care providers that demyelinating diseases were added to the Actemra label. But, not all of them were included. Adverse reports suggest that most of them should have been added.

Lack of Warning

Many of the RA drugs on the market bring the same risks of demyelination. The difference is the other drugs warn about Acterma & Demyelination. Actemra 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 demyelination.

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

Actemra & Demyelination Symptoms

Demyelination can occur rapidly. In Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), myelin may only be under attack for a few hours before symptoms appear. With chronic illnesses like multiple sclerosis (MS), it can and progress over years. Nerves are a key part of your body functions. Demyelination brings a wide range of symptoms, including:

Since nerves are integral to body functions, there is a wide range of symptoms of demyelination. These include:

  • Numbness
  • Loss of reflexes and uncoordinated movements
  • Poorly controlled blood pressure
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Racing heart beat or palpitations
  • Memory problems
  • Pain
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Fatigue

 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. Recovarable losses 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 demyelination 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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