Studies have linked the rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra (tocilizumab injection) to serious side effects including pruritus, stroke, heart attack 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 & Pruritus
Pruritus is a disorder that causes extremely itchy skin. The skin can become red, rough with bumps or blisters. When repeated scratching occurs, the skin can become raised and thick. Then, the skin can bleed or become infected. eHealthMe examined over 15,000 adverse reports. Close to 500 people experienced this intensely itchy reaction. Most who experienced pruritus had the reaction within a year of using Actemra.
Patients using the RA drug, Actemra noticed a higher incidence of pruritus while using the medication.
Lack of Warning
Many of the RA drugs on the market bring the same risk of developing pruritus. 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 & Pruritis Symptoms
The symptoms of pruritus are:
- Bumps, spots or blisters
- Dry, cracked skin
- Leathery or scaly texture to the skin
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 pruritus 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.