Actemra & Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Studies have linked the rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra (tocilizumab injection) to serious side effects including Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, 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 & Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

EHeathMe looked at over 15,000 adverse reaction reports of patients using Actemra. They found that almost 10% of this small pool experienced lumbar spinal stenosis. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis is when the spinal canal in the lower back narrows. Usually, this occurs when bone or tissue, sometimes even both, grow into the openings in the spinal bones. This growth then squeezes and irritates nerves wrapped around the spinal cord. This can be extremely painful.

When a patient uses Actemra, he or she has a higher probability of developing this painful side effect.

Lack of Warning

Many of the RA drugs on the market bring the same risks of spinal issues. The difference is the other drugs warn about Acterma and lumbar spinal stenosis. 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 bone marrow failure.

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

Actemra & Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis can occur as people age. The connective tissues or ligaments get thicker and arthritis can make this condition accelerate. However, using a medication for less than 6 months shouldn’t suddenly cause this to happen.

The symptoms of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis are

  • Numbness, weakness or cramping in the legs, feet or buttocks
  • Stiffness in the legs and thighs
  • Lower back pain
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control

 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 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis 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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