• By:admin

Canadian Medical Officials Warn of Liver Health Risks Linked to Actemra Use

Some users of the rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra are taking legal action against the drug’s manufacturer after their use of it led to cardiovascular incidents. The drug has been linked to reports of stroke, heart attack, and heart failure, as well as incidences of acute pancreatitis and interstitial lung disease.

There are concerns that the potentially life threatening side effects linked to Actemra were not disclosed by the drug’s maker or included on the drug’s packaging despite the manufacturer knowing there was a problem. Investigations are underway to determine if Roche and Genentech, the makers of Actemra, knew of the risks and failed to disclose them to the medical community and the public.

Tocilizumab, which goes by the brand name Actemra, is a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It is an immunosuppressive medication given via infusion or injection that was introduced in 2010. It was the first of the class of drugs known as IL-6 receptor inhibitors to become available.

In 2017, the FDA approved Actemra to also be used to treat giant cell arthritis. Additionally, the drug is used for a variety of off-label purposes.

Other drugs used to treat arthritis include strong warnings on their labels regarding their side effects but Actemra does not. This led doctors and patients to assume that Actemra did not have the same risks as other arthritis drugs, when that was not the case at all. Some recent reports suggest that Actemra is actually more dangerous and use of it carries with it a higher risk than alternative arthritis drugs.

According to a 2017 report from Statnews, thousands of people have filed adverse event reports concerning Actemra since it hit the market in 2010. Many of these reports included serious complications, such as heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, and other issues. More than 1100 deaths have been linked to Actemra use.

Two additional studies published that same year linked Actemra to an increased risk for infection. And a study published in 2018 linked Actemra to an increased risk for blood loss when used after knee replacement surgery.

Is Actemra Safe?

Actemra is used by many people and often considered a safer arthritis drug option because doctors and patients are unaware of the potential complications. It is believed that the manufacturers of the drug hid potential risks from the public and failed to include warnings on the drug’s label regarding the side effects.

Though some people have used Actemra without incident, many consider the drug dangerous. Side effects linked to the drug are extremely serious and more than a thousand deaths have been linked to use of the drug.

Potential Risk of Liver Damage

In addition to concerns about Actemra’s effect on cardiovascular and lung health, Canadian medical officials and Health Canada are currently assessing the potential risk for liver damage for users of Actemra.

The Canadian Health Department issued an official safety communication after reports of serious Actemra-induced liver injury (DILI) arose. Some Actemra users experienced acute liver failure requiring a transplant following use of the drug.

Health Canada has alerted doctors not to:

  • Recommend Actemra to patients with active hepatic disease or hepatic impairment
  • Initiate prescribe Actemra to patients with elevated blood liver enzyme of a certain level

Doctors have also been encouraged to discontinue use of Actemra in patients with significantly elevated blood liver enzymes and to monitor liver function on an ongoing basis in patients taking Actemra. Health Canada is working with the drug’s manufacturer to include a warning label on Actemra packaging in the future.

Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA. 

Related Post

VIEW all
Teva, Major Pharmacies Found Liable for Actions in Opioid Crisis in New York, Ohio
  • By:B. Shaffer

Pharmaceutical manufacturing giant, Teva has been found guilty of its role in the opioid crisis in the state of New York. In a separate ruling in Ohio, major pharmacies Walgreens, CVS and Walmart have been found liable for helping to create an oversupply of drugs leading to the opioid epidemic. The findings are in addition to others reached in federal and other state courts. Teva Found Guilty in State of New York Opioid Crisis A New York jury has ruled …

Opioid Epidemic
Judge Rejects Opioid Lawsuit Settlement for Purdue Pharma’s Sackler Family
  • By:B. Shaffer

A federal judge has rejected Purdue Pharma’s Opioid Lawsuit Settlement agreement releasing the Sackler Family from liability over OxyContin. The agreement had been reached on December 16, 2021, in bankruptcy court and would settle thousands of Opioid lawsuits filed by government agencies and people who had been harmed by OxyContin. Through the bankruptcy court agreement, the Sackler family was to be allowed to pay $4.5 billion to avoid civil liability over their involvement in the Purdue Pharma-OxyContin Opioid lawsuit battles. …

weight loss drug
Weight Loss Drug Removed from Market after Cancer Linked Identified
  • By:B. Shaffer

Eisai, Inc. voluntarily pulled its weight-loss drug Belviq from the market in February 2020 after it was determined that the drug poses a slightly increased risk of cancer. Despite the recall of the product, Eisai said it did not believe the FDA’s interpretation of the latest round of data on the drug’s safety and stated that it still believes the benefits outweigh the risks. According to the FDA, patients currently using Belviq should stop doing so immediately. They should dispose …

Have you been affected by a drug or device listed?