Actemra: see more about treatment for arthritis cases

Arthritis is a generic term to describe inflammatory disorders that affect bones and joints. There are more than 200 different types, among the most well-known is Rheumatoid Arthritis (which affects adults and, mainly, the elderly).

However, there are also more isolated and not so popular types, such as Polyarticular or Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis – which, as the name suggests, affects the younger population and even children.

It is known that arthritis is a degenerative disease and that, if left untreated, can cause irreversible damage. There are several treatment options: surgeries, physiotherapy, injectable medications in the muscles, etc.

But, among these, there are also more conventional medications like Actemra. Check out more information about it below:

What is Actemra Roche?

Actemra is the name of a medicine of the biological type from the Roche laboratory. It has Tocilizumab as its active ingredient, which acts by blocking the substance interleukin 6, which corroborates with most clinical manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis.

This medication is available and approved for intravenous administration and is indicated for adult and pediatric use over 2 years.

What is Actemra used for?

According to the package leaflet, the medicine Actemra is indicated for the treatment of the following cases:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) – for moderate to severe cases, in adult patients. It is necessary to have undergone previous treatment with at least one disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (which prevents the progression of the pathology) and which has not brought the expected results;
  • Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (AIJP) – in patients 2 years of age (or older) who did not show a satisfactory response to treatment with the substance Methotrexate (MTX);
  • Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) – in patients 2 years of age (or older) who did not respond satisfactorily to treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and systemic corticosteroids (hormonal treatment).

In addition, the package insert also indicates that Actemra can be used in conjunction with the drug substance Methotrexate (MTX).

This is recommended in cases of severe, active and progressive rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in patients who have not received previous treatment with MTX. The combination of medications can also be used to treat Polyarticular or Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.

It is worth mentioning that the use of Actemra with Methotrexate is a decision that must be taken by the medical team, based on the analysis of the case. This is because, in any of the treatments, Actemra can be used as monotherapy .

What is the mechanism of action of the active ingredient Tocilizumab?

Tocilizumab is categorized as a humanized monoclonal antibody. That is, it is produced from non-human species and modified to increase its resemblance to the antibodies made by the human organism.

This substance acts by blocking interleukin 6 receptors (the substance responsible for the manifestation of arthritis inflammation).

Thus, when in contact with the organism, Tocilizumab prevents inflammation and neutralizes symptoms – which is possible in patients with active disease in moderate to severe cases.

How does the package insert indicate using Actemra and what is the dosage?

The medicine Actemra must be administered by infusion into the vein (intravenously) or subcutaneously, according to its presentation. It must always be prepared by a health professional and used in a hospital environment.

The dosage varies according to the pathology in question, check out:

  • Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis ( RA ) – 8mg / kg, administered once every 4 weeks (for patients over 100kg, the package insert does not recommend a dose greater than 800mg per infusion);
  • Patients with Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis ( AIJP ) – 10mg / kg for patients weighing less than 30kg and 8mg / kg for patients weighing 30kg or more (administered once every 4 weeks);
  • Patients with Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis ( AIJS ) – 12mg / kg for patients weighing less than 30kg and 8mg / kg for patients weighing 30kg or more (administered once every 2 weeks).

In addition, the package insert also indicates that the average infusion time of the drug is 1 hour. It is also worth emphasizing that the treatment time and other recommendations must be made by the responsible physician.

What are the side effects?

Just like any other medication, Actemra can also cause side effects in patients who use it – they can occur more intensely or not at all.

As a very common reaction (occurs in more than 10% of people), the package insert indicates infection of the upper airways – that is, nasal passages, pharynx and larynx.

There is also an indication of common adverse reactions (occur in 1% to 10% of people):

  • Cellulitis;
  • Pneumonia;
  • Oral herpes simplex, herpes zoster (reactivation of the varicella virus in a nerve root causing pain in the skin, popularly known as “cobreiro”);
  • Pain in the belly region;
  • Ulcerations in the mouth (thrush);
  • Gastritis;
  • Rashes (generic name for skin lesions, usually reddish);
  • Itch;
  • Hives (itchy rash, characterized by protruding plaques);
  • Headache;
  • Dizziness;
  • Increased liver enzymes;
  • Increased blood pressure;
  • Leukopenia and neutropenia (reduction of white blood cells in the blood);
  • Increased cholesterol;
  • Weight gain;
  • Peripheral edema;
  • Allergic reactions, reaction at the application site;
  • Cough, shortness of breath;
  • Conjunctivitis.

To find out about unusual or rare reactions, the ideal is to seek help from the medical team and consult the package leaflet .

Actemra fattening?

Among the possible side effects of the medicine Actemra is weight gain. Thus, use can rather lead to weight gain.

But it is worth noting that the manifestation of adverse symptoms can be variable, as some people do not have it and others may even have more than one. This reinforces the need for medical monitoring.

Even though weight gain is a possible effect, it is always necessary to inform the doctor responsible for your case when presenting any adverse reaction or complication. That way, he / she can help you with how to solve the problem in question.

Is it approved by ANVISA?

-Yeah . The medicine Actemra has Registration No. 1010006550072 with ANVISA (National Health Surveillance Agency), is in the category of “Biologicals” and is classified as an anti-inflammatory anti-inflammatory.

Thus, this medicine is marketed as a medication with safety and efficacy attested from specific tests.

Value: what is the price of Actemra and where to buy cheaper?

The price * for Actemra may vary depending on the location and availability of the medicine. The milligram and / or version of the medication can also interfere.

But to find out where to buy the cheapest medicine in your region, you can use the website Consulta Remédios , which makes it possible to compare prices from different establishments and find the best one for you.

Check out the Actemra price range:

  • Actemra (20mg / mL), box with 1 vial with 4mL of powder for solution for intravenous use – the price is close to R $ 1,000;
  • Actemra 20mg / mL, box with 1 vial with 10mL of powder for solution for intravenous use – the price varies between R $ 1,800 and R $ 2,400.

* Prices consulted in March 2020. Prices may change.

Tocilizumabe tem no SUS?

-Yeah . The substance Tocilizumab (active ingredient in Actemra) is present in the National List of Essential Medicines (RENAME) 2020.

Thus, this drug must be made available by the Unified Health System (SUS). It is worth mentioning that to have access to medication, it is necessary to have a medical recommendation.

How to budget?

In cases of non-availability of the drug via SUS, patients with a medical report can make a judicial request in order to receive the treatment paid for by the Federal Government or through the Health Plan – if applicable.

In this case, it is necessary to open a process and follow the stipulated requests. Among them is the delivery of documents that include:

  • Medical report;
  • Exams;
  • Standard requirement;
  • Budget of 3 pharmacies .

You can count on the assistance of legal advice on the purchase of medicines to make a budget easier.

When accessing the link , make your registration informing some personal data and the medicine in question. Finally, click on “request quotes” and wait for the return.

The treatment of degenerative diseases like Arthritis is essential. This is because the lack of it can cause serious and even irreversible damage, generating limitations and complications in relation to the patient’s quality of life. That is why medicines like Actemra are very important.

Keep following the Healthy Minute for more information on medicines, diseases and health in general!