What is this medication?
Antirheumatic, Disease Modifying; Interleukin-6 Receptor Antagonist
Indicated for treatment of cytokine release syndrome, giant cell arteritis, polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
How does this medication work?
Tocilizumab, Actemra acts as an antagonist of the interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor. Endogenous IL-6 is induced by inflammatory stimuli and mediates a variety of immunological responses. Inhibition of IL-6 receptors by tocilizumab will reduce cytokine and acute phase reactions leading to an overall decrease in inflammation.
How should I take this medication?
How to Take Intravenously: Allow diluted solution for infusion to reach room temperature prior to administration; infuse over 60 minutes using a dedicated IV line. Do not infuse other agents through same IV line. Do not administer IV push or IV bolus. If additional doses are necessary for the management of cytokine-release syndrome, the interval between doses should be at least 8 hours. Do not use if opaque particles or discoloration is visible.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Before starting make sure your physician is aware of any allergies or medications you currently take, you can experience changes in hematological values (i.e. thrombocytopenia, neutropenia); hepatic impairment, hyperlipidemia and even perforation of the bowel has been reported.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss an appointment to receive your Actemra infusion, call your doctor or the clinic, hospital, or infusion center right away to reschedule.
If you forget to give yourself an Actemra injection, talk with your doctor. They can describe what you should do next based on your typical dosing schedule.
How should I store this medication?
Store vials in a refrigerator at 2-8°C. Do not freeze. Keep the vial in the outer carton to protect it from light. Do not use beyond expiration date written on the vial + carton.
For prepared infusion solution: Tocilizumab, Actemra does not contain preservatives, therefore reconstitution and dilution of the product should be performed under aseptic conditions. The prepared infusion solution of tocilizumab is physically and chemically stable in 0.9% w/v sodium chloride solution at 2-8ºC or 30ºC for 24 hours. The prepared infusion should be used immediately. Tocilizumab, Actemra solutions do not contain preservatives therefore, unused product remaining in the vials should not be used.
Tocilizumab, Actemra should not be used after the expiry date shown on the prefilled-syringe (PFS) or autoinjector and the outer pack. Store the PFS or autoinjector in a refrigerator at a temperature of 2-8°C. Do not freeze, Protect from light, and moisture. Once removed from the refrigerator, Actemra solution for injection must be administered within 8 hours and should not be kept above 30°C. For the autoinjector, allow to sit at room temperate outside the box for 45 minutes before use.
What are the possible side effects of using this medication?
Hyperlipidemia, elevated liver enzymes and local injection site irritation.
Note this is not a complete list of side effects for Tocilizumab, Actemra only common ones.
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