Actemra is an interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor inhibitor used to treat adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis and children with active systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA). Actemra, which can be taken alone or in combination with methotrexate, is usually saved for those who have previously used anti-TNF treatments with little or no success. Actemra is given by intravenous infusion once every four weeks for one hour. Some people experiene symptom improvement as early as 2 - 4 weeks after beginning therapy. Improvements include a decrease in pain as well as a decrease in the number of tender or swollen joints. Common side effects include upper respiratory infections, headache, and increased blood pressure. Because it affects your immune system, you may be more susceptible to infections. Your doctor should discuss other rare but potentially serious side effects and potential drug interactions with you prior to treatment.
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