tocilizumab, Actemra (cont.)

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Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

STORAGE: Tocilizumab should be stored refrigerated at 2 to 8 C (36 to 46 F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Tocilizumab is used for treating adult patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis who have not adequately responded to one or more TNFα blockers (for example, adalimumab [Humira], certolizumab [Cimzia]). It may be used alone or combined with methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall) or other disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.

DOSING: The recommended dose of tocilizumab is 4-8 mg/kg administered as a single 60 minute intravenous infusion every 4 weeks.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Tocilizumab has not been studied in combination with other similar drugs that block other chemicals that promote inflammation, for example, drugs that block TNF (for example, adalimumab  [Humira]). Combining anakinra (Kineret), abatacept (Orencia), rituximab (Rituxan) with other antirheumatic drugs similar to tocilizumab resulted in a reduction in white blood cells in the blood (neutropenia), serious infections and no additional benefit. Tocilizumab may interfere with the effectiveness of vaccines. Live vaccines, including attenuated vaccines, should not be given to patients receiving tocilizumab.

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