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Table of Contents > Drug > Tocilizumab Print

Tocilizumab

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Notes
Related terms
Uses
Dosing
Safety
Author information

Notes

    Related terms
    • Brand Names: U.S.: Actemra®
    • Brand Names: Canada: Actemra®
    • Pharmacologic Category: Antirheumatic, Disease Modifying;Interleukin-6 Receptor Antagonist

    Uses
    • It is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
    • It is used to treat juvenile arthritis.
    • It is an arthritis-changing drug. It lowers swelling and helps lower signs and protect joints from more harm.

    Dosing

    How to take

    • You will need a TB (tuberculosis) test before starting this drug.
    • It is given as a shot into a vein over a period of time.

    Missed Dose

    • Call your doctor to find out what to do.

    Storage

    • This drug will be given to you in a hospital or doctor's office. You will not store it at home.

    Safety



    Warnings

    • TB (tuberculosis) has been seen in patients started on this drug. These patients were exposed to TB in the past, but never got the infection. You will be tested to see if you have been exposed to TB before starting this drug.
    • Very bad infections have happen in patients who take these types of drugs. Talk with the doctor.
    • Unsafe side effects may happen. This drug cannot be taken while you are taking some other drugs. Check all the drugs you are taking with your doctor.
    • Please read the medication guide.

    Avoid

    • If you have an allergy to tocilizumab or any other part of this drug.
    • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs. Make sure to tell about the allergy and what signs you had. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
    • If you are breast-feeding.

    Precautions

    • Hepatitis B testing may be done. A hepatitis B infection may get worse during care.
    • Long-term use may raise your chance of cancer.
    • Very bad infections have been reported with use of this drug. If you have any infection, are taking antibiotics now or in the recent past, or have many infections, talk with your doctor.
    • Talk with your doctor before getting any vaccines. Use with this drug may either raise the chance of a very bad infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
    • If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), talk with your doctor. You may be more likely to get infections.
    • If you have liver disease, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have stomach ulcers, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have MS (multiple sclerosis) or other nerve disease, talk with your doctor.
    • Have your blood work checked often. Talk with your doctor.
    • Check all drugs you are taking with your doctor. This drug may not mix well with some other drugs.
    • Tell dentists, surgeons, and other doctors that you use this drug.
    • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant.

    Side Effects

    • Chance of getting an infection. Avoid people with infections, colds, or flu.
    • Headache.
    • High blood pressure.
    • Irritation where the shot is given.
    • Unsafe allergic effects may rarely happen.

    Contact a healthcare provider

    • If you think there was an overdose, call your local poison control center or ER right away.
    • Signs of a very bad reaction to the drug. These include wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
    • Signs of infection. These include a fever of 100.5°F (38°C) or higher, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, wound that will not heal, or anal itching or pain.
    • Trouble breathing.
    • Swelling in your legs or belly.
    • Any bruising or bleeding.
    • Very bad headache.
    • Feeling very tired or weak.
    • Very bad belly pain.
    • Not able to eat.
    • Dark urine or yellow skin or eyes.
    • Any rash.
    • Health problem is not better or you are feeling worse.

    General Statements

    • If you have a very bad allergy, wear an allergy ID at all times.
    • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
    • Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
    • Most drugs may be thrown away in household trash after mixing with coffee grounds or kitty litter and sealing in a plastic bag.
    • In Canada, take any unused drugs to the pharmacy. Also, visit http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/med/disposal-defaire-eng.php#th to learn about the right way to get rid of unused drugs.
    • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
    • Call your doctor for help with any side effects. If in the U.S., you may also call the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or if in Canada, you may also call Health Canada's Vigilance Program at 1-866-234-2345.
    • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including OTC, natural products, or vitamins.

    Author information
    • Copyright © 1978-2010 Lexi-Comp Inc. All rights reserved.

    Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


    The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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