Actemra & Meniscus

Studies have linked the rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra (tocilizumab injection) to serious side effects including meniscus tears, 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 & Meniscus

The meniscus is a rubbery, C-shaped disc that cushions the knee. Each knee has a meniscus. It helps to keep the joint steady by balancing your weight across the knee. When meniscus tears, the knee won’t work properly. There are three types of tears: minor, moderate and severe. A minor tear brings slight pain and swelling that disappears in 2 or 3 weeks. A moderate tear can make the knee stiff and difficult to bend. Walking is still normally possible. Symptoms dissipate within a week or two of rest. However, in severe tears, pieces of the torn meniscus can move into space where the joint occupied. This can make the knee catch, pop or lock. Straightening the knee will be difficult. When a tear occurs, surgery may be necessary to repair it. This will include lengthy rehabilitation exercises and lots of rest.

Patients using the RA drug, Actemra noticed a higher number of severe tears while using the medication. This means painful surgeries, lengthy recoveries and weeks off work.

Lack of Warning

Many of the RA drugs on the market bring the same risk of developing a meniscus tear. The difference is the other drugs warn about it, 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 a meniscus tear.

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

Actemra & Meniscus Symptoms

The symptoms of a meniscus injury are:

  • Swollen knee
  • Pain when knee is touched
  • Difficulty extending the knee
  • Limited range of motion
  • Limping
  • Stiffness
  • Knee locking or catching
  • Unstable walking

 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

Therefore, 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 meniscus tear 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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