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What is Actemra?

Actemra is a prescription medication for several conditions. It helps adults with rheumatoid arthritis when other medications haven’t worked well.

Actemra also treats giant cell arteritis (a type of blood vessel inflammation) and slows lung damage in people with systemic sclerosis-associated interstitial lung disease.

For children aged 2 and older, it treats two types of arthritis (PJIA and SJIA) and helps manage severe reactions from certain cancer treatments. Actemra is also used for hospitalized adults with severe COVID-19 who need extra oxygen or a ventilator.

Common side effects include infections, headaches, high blood pressure, and reactions at the injection site. Actemra is available as an intravenous infusion or a subcutaneous injection.

How Does Actemra Work?

Actemra targets the immune system’s attack on the body, a problem in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Normally, the immune system protects us from infections, but RA mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, especially in the joints, causing damage and inflammation.

Actemra blocks interleukin-6 (IL-6), a substance involved in this harmful attack. By blocking IL-6, Actemra helps reduce inflammation and joint damage.

Dosage Information and Usage

Actemra is used to treat several conditions by helping to reduce inflammation in the body. It is important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on how to take this medication, as the dosage and method of administration can vary depending on the condition being treated.

Dosage Form and Strengths of Actemra

  • Intravenous Infusion:
  • 80 mg/4 mL solution in a 20 mg/mL single-dose vial
  • 200 mg/10 mL solution in a 20 mg/mL single-dose vial
  • 400 mg/20 mL solution in a 20 mg/mL single-dose vial
  • Subcutaneous Injection:
    • 162 mg/0.9 mL solution in a single-dose prefilled syringe
    • 162 mg/0.9 mL solution in a single-dose prefilled ACTPen® autoinjector

How to Administer Actemra

Actemra can be administered in two ways: as an intravenous (IV) infusion or as a subcutaneous (SC) injection.

The method of administration and frequency of dosage depends on the specific condition being treated.

  • Intravenous Infusion: Administered by a healthcare provider, this method involves injecting the medication into a vein over about one hour. The frequency of infusions varies:
    • For rheumatoid arthritis and giant cell arteritis: every 4 weeks.
    • For systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis: every 2 weeks.
    • For cytokine release syndrome and COVID-19: typically a single dose, with a possible second dose if needed.
  • Subcutaneous Injection: This can be done at home after proper training. It involves injecting the medication under the skin. The dosing schedule includes:
    • Weekly or bi-weekly injections for rheumatoid arthritis, giant cell arteritis, and systemic sclerosis-associated interstitial lung disease.
    • For polyarticular and systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, the frequency depends on the patient’s weight and condition severity.

Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and keep all follow-up appointments to monitor your response to the treatment and adjust dosages as necessary.

Storage Information

Keep Actemra in the refrigerator at a temperature between 36°F and 46°F (2°C to 8°C). Do not freeze it. Make sure to store the vials, syringes, and autoinjectors in their original packaging to protect them from light until you are ready to use them.

If you take the prefilled syringe or autoinjector out of the refrigerator, it can be kept at room temperature, but not higher than 86°F (30°C), for up to 2 weeks.

Always keep the syringes and autoinjectors in the carton to keep them dry. Make sure not to use Actemra past the expiration date printed on the container.

Side Effects of Actemra

It’s important to know these possible side effects so you can recognize them and get medical help if needed. Here are some common and serious but rare side effects of Actemra.

Common Side Effects

  • Upper respiratory tract infections (common cold, sinus infections)
  • Headache
  • Increased blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Injection site reactions

Serious but Rare Side Effects

  • Feeling very tired
  • Vomiting
  • Chills
  • Dark urine
  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Skin rash
  • Little or no appetite
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, or face
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Moderate or severe abdominal pain or vomiting

Warnings and Precautions

Before beginning treatment with Actemra, it’s important to know specific warnings and precautions for safe use.

Talk about all your medical conditions and medications with your healthcare provider to see if Actemra is right for you and to understand any potential risks.

Boxed Warnings for Actemra

Patients on Actemra might get serious infections that could require hospitalization or even result in death.

These infections mostly happen in those also taking other immune-suppressing drugs like methotrexate or corticosteroids. If a serious infection occurs, stop Actemra until the infection is managed.

Reported serious infections include:

  • Active tuberculosis can affect the lungs or other parts of the body. Patients should be tested for latent tuberculosis before starting Actemra and during treatment.
  • Invasive fungal infections, such as candidiasis, aspergillosis, and pneumocystis, may spread throughout the body.
  • Various bacterial, viral, and other infections from opportunistic pathogens.

Patients should be closely monitored for signs of infection during and after Actemra treatment.

This includes the potential development of tuberculosis, even if they tested negative for latent infection before starting the medication.

General Precautions

These precautions help prevent serious side effects and ensure the medication is used safely.

Here are some key precautions to be aware of:

  • Serious Infections: Actemra can increase the risk of serious infections like pneumonia and tuberculosis. This is because Actemra suppresses the immune system, making it harder to fight infections. Patients should report any signs of infection, such as fever or cough, to their doctor immediately.
  • Gastrointestinal Perforations: This medication can cause tears in the stomach or intestines, especially in people with diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is the inflammation of bulging pouches, called diverticula, in the wall of the large intestine (colon). These tears are dangerous and need urgent medical attention.
  • Hepatotoxicity: Actemra can cause serious liver damage, sometimes leading to liver failure. This happens because the medication can increase liver enzymes, indicating liver stress or injury. Patients should get regular blood tests to monitor liver function and report any symptoms like dark urine or jaundice.
  • Blood Abnormalities: The medication can lower white blood cell and platelet counts, which are crucial for fighting infections and stopping bleeding. Regular blood tests are needed to monitor these levels.
  • Lipid Abnormalities: Actemra can raise cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of heart disease. Patients should have their cholesterol levels checked regularly and may need to manage high cholesterol with diet, exercise, or medication.
  • Immunosuppression: Long-term use of Actemra may increase the risk of developing cancers. This is due to the reduced ability of the immune system to detect and destroy cancer cells. Patients should discuss the risks and benefits of continuing treatment with their doctor.
  • Hypersensitivity Reactions: Some people may have severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening. Patients should seek immediate medical help if they experience symptoms like swelling, difficulty breathing, or severe rash.
  • Demyelinating Disorders: Actemra might increase the risk of disorders like multiple sclerosis, where the protective covering of nerves is damaged. Patients should inform their doctor if they experience symptoms like vision problems or muscle weakness.
  • Vaccinations: Patients should avoid live vaccines while on Actemra, as the medication can interfere with the body’s response to the vaccine. It’s best to update all vaccinations before starting treatment.

Overdosage of Actemra

Overdosing with Actemra is not common, and there’s limited information about it. In one case, a person with multiple myeloma accidentally got a high dose through an IV, but they didn’t have any bad reactions.

In another study, healthy people got single doses up to a certain amount, and they mostly had low white blood cell counts, but it wasn’t serious.

If someone gets too much Actemra, it’s important to watch them closely for any signs of problems. If they do have any bad reactions, they should get the right treatment for those symptoms.

Drug Interactions With Other Medications

When different medications interact, it can affect how they work in your body. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Concomitant Drugs for Treatment of Adult Indications: Studies indicate that methotrexate, NSAIDs, and corticosteroids do not affect the clearance of tocilizumab, the active ingredient in Actemra. However, Actemra has not been studied with other biological DMARDs like TNF antagonists. If you are taking these medications together, your healthcare provider will closely monitor you to ensure they are effective and safe.
  • Interactions with CYP450 Substrates: The liver enzymes known as Cytochrome P450s (CYP450) can be influenced by infection and inflammation. Tocilizumab, found in Actemra, may alter how these enzymes function, potentially speeding up the breakdown of drugs like omeprazole and simvastatin, which are metabolized by CYP450 enzymes. If you’re taking these drugs, your doctor might need to adjust your dose to ensure they remain effective.
  • Live Vaccines: It’s best to avoid live vaccines while using Actemra. Live vaccines have weakened viruses or bacteria, and taking them with Actemra could affect their effectiveness. If you need a vaccine, talk to your doctor about which ones are safe for you while on Actemra. Keeping up with vaccinations is important, but make sure they’re compatible with your treatment.

Alternative Medications

If Actemra isn’t the right fit for you, your doctor might suggest other medications to help manage your condition. Here are some options:

Cost & Discounts for Actemra in Canada

Taking care of your health shouldn’t cost you a fortune. That’s where PharmaGiant steps in. We’re dedicated to providing affordable and accessible healthcare options.

Explore our Actemra (Tocilizumab) Offerings:

StrengthQuantityPrice (USD)
80mg/4mL1 vial$287.00
2 vials$560.00
3 vials$810.00
162mg/0.9mL4 pens$2499.00
8 pens$4960.00
12 pens$7410.00
200mg/10mL1 vial$719.00
2 vials$1420.00
3 vials$2100.00
400mg/20mL1 vial$1439.00
2 vials$2860.00
3 vials$4260.00

We believe in offering quality medications at fair prices. Don’t let financial concerns impact your well-being. Choose PharmaGiant and prioritize your health without straining your budget!

Special Discount Code and Offer

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Savings on Bulk Purchases

Buying in bulk can lead to significant savings. By purchasing larger quantities, you reduce the cost per vial or pen, making your treatment even more affordable.

Assurance of Quality and Timely Delivery

At PharmaGiant, we guarantee that you will receive high-quality medications swiftly and securely. Our express shipping delivers your order within 3-5 business days, anywhere in the US. We strive to make essential treatments accessible and affordable for everyone, regardless of insurance status.

Even if unexpected events like severe weather can sometimes cause delays, we remain committed to providing outstanding service. Your health and satisfaction are our utmost priorities.


Yes, Actemra may increase the risk of certain cancers by affecting how your immune system functions. It’s essential to consider this risk and discuss it with your healthcare provider.

Actemra treats several inflammatory conditions, mainly rheumatoid arthritis, where joints become swollen and painful. It also treats giant cell arteritis, causing blood vessels in the head and neck to inflame. Additionally, Actemra manages cytokine release syndrome after certain cancer treatments and is used for polyarticular and systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis in children. It works by reducing inflammation.

Actemra injections for rheumatoid arthritis are typically given as an IV infusion once every 4 weeks. The dosage is based on your weight and is usually around 4 mg per kg. For instance, if you weigh 75 kg (about 165 lb), you’d receive 300 mg of Actemra every 4 weeks.

Actemra may lead to kidney problems in some cases. It’s important to inform your doctor about any existing kidney issues before starting Actemra treatment. They can monitor your kidney function regularly during treatment to detect any potential problems early on.

Actemra may lead to kidney problems in some cases. It’s important to inform your doctor about any existing kidney issues before starting Actemra treatment. They can monitor your kidney function regularly during treatment to detect any potential problems early on.

Actemra might cause fatigue as a side effect in some people. If you experience persistent tiredness while taking Actemra, it’s essential to inform your healthcare provider immediately. They can assess your symptoms and determine the appropriate course of action, which may include adjusting your treatment plan.

People with low neutrophil and platelet counts or high liver function test levels should not take Actemra. It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider to see if Actemra is right for you, based on your current health and medical history.

Actemra can be injected subcutaneously (under the skin) in the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm. It’s important to rotate the injection sites to avoid irritation or discomfort. Avoid injecting into areas that are bruised, tender, red, or hard. Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on the proper technique and site selection to ensure safe and effective administration.

There is currently no generic version of Actemra available. Actemra is a brand-name biologic drug containing tocilizumab, and traditional generics do not exist for biologics. While similar drugs, called biosimilars, might be developed in the future, they are not available yet. Biosimilars usually cost less than brand-name drugs, offering a more affordable option for patients.

The duration of Actemra treatment varies by condition. For rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it is often used long-term, as your doctor advises. For giant cell arteritis (GCA), Actemra is typically prescribed for up to one year. In cases of cytokine release syndrome (CRS), it is usually used for a short period, generally 1 to 2 weeks, until symptoms resolve. Always follow your doctor’s instructions on how long to use Actemra for your specific condition.

Actemra may affect your immune system, making you more susceptible to infections or worsening existing ones. Serious infections, such as tuberculosis (TB), and infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses that can spread throughout the body, may occur while taking Actemra.