Actemra & Endocarditis
Studies have linked the rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra (tocilizumab injection) to serious side effects including endocarditis, 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 & Endocarditis
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 – endocarditis. Heart problems bring a 50% risk of death. Users of Actemra were 1.5 times more likely to have heart issues.
Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers and heart valves. This infection normally happens when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body like your mouth spread through your bloodstream. Then, they attach to damaged areas in your heart. If it’s not treated quickly, endocarditis can damage or destroy your heart valves. This can lead to life-threatening complications. Treatments for endocarditis may be antibiotics and sometimes even surgery.
If patients taking Actemra do not know to watch for this side effect, this can lead to serious injury. Complaints to the FDA note this. In fact, the complaints 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 & Endocarditis Symptoms
Endocarditis can occur slowly or very rapidly. This can depend if you already have heart issues. Because of this, symptoms vary, but the common signs are:
- Flu-like symptoms, such as fever and chills
- A new or changed heart murmur, which is the heart sounds made by blood rushing through your heart
- Aching joints and muscles
- Night sweats
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain when you breathe
- Swelling in your feet, legs or abdomen
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.