Research and anecdotal reports link the rheumatoid arthritis drug tocilizumab, better known by the brand name Actemra, to hundreds of deaths from various life-threatening conditions. The list includes heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. Doctors normally prescribe this drug for moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.
If you lost a family member who took this medication, an Actemra arthritis lawsuit lawyer from Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. is here to help you understand your legal rights. We can review your case and advise you of your options. If you have a strong case against the drug manufacturer, we can guide you through the process to get the compensation your family deserves.
Call us today at 800-550-0000 to schedule your complimentary case evaluation.
What Do I Need to Know About Actemra?
Actemra, marketed by Roche Holding AG, received approval from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 2010, and doctors have since prescribed it to more than 750,000 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. This drug is a part of a class of humanized interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor antagonists.
Usually reserved for patients who do not see positive results or significant improvement from more traditional arthritis drugs, doctors may administer the medication through an
intravenous line in a clinic or hospital or the patient may inject the medication at home.
While this drug is effective for many people with rheumatoid arthritis, there are also numerous reports of severe undisclosed side effects. Despite links to heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, interstitial lung disease, and pancreatitis, this medication has no warning labels listing these conditions as potential side effects as of January 2018.
How Significant Is the Risk of a Deadly Side Effect When Taking Actemra?
StatNews.com, a health and medicine site produced by Boston Globe Media, investigated the link between this medication and side effects such as heart attack and stroke. This investigation, published in June 2017, looked at more than 500,000 reports of side effects from Actemra and competing arthritis drugs. Unlike many of these medications, Actemra carries no warning about these conditions.
According to the article about the investigation, there was “clear evidence” that those who took Actemra experienced the same severe and even deadly side effects as patients who took other medications. They found the instances of heart attack and stroke “were as high or higher” for those who took Actemra as they were for those on competing drugs. The experts who conducted the investigation point out Actemra was one of very few that did not contain a warning label.
While there is no direct proof these drugs cause the heart attacks, strokes, or other conditions, STAT reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration knew of 1,128 deaths potentially linked to Actemra.
A year before this investigation, a presentation at the 2016 American College of Rheumatology annual convention compared the risks associated with Actemra to competitor drug Enbrel.
This study found those who received Actemra were 1.5 times more likely to suffer heart failure or a stroke than those who took Enbrel for their rheumatoid arthritis. The presenter of this study also noted Enbrel included warnings for those who were already at an increased risk of heart attack or stroke, and even warns against prescribing the medication for people who suffer from cardiovascular disease. Actemra has no similar labeling.
Are There Lawsuits Pending Against Roche Related to Actemra Deaths?
As of December 2018, the legal case against Roche’s Actemra is still in its earliest stages. Attorneys are still investigating claims for clients, and beginning to file individual lawsuits against the manufacturer alleging wrongful death because of its defective medication.
We believe these cases will likely go before a judge for approval to consolidate them into multidistrict litigation (MDL). This would allow us to complete pretrial activities and discovery as a group, saving time and money. Then, the court would select several cases to serve as bellwether trials, giving us a good idea about how judges and juries will react in these cases.
If you believe your loved one passed away due to an Actemra side effect, the time to call us is now. We have a limited time after the death of your family member to pursue compensation, because of state statute of limitations laws.
Making these cases more complex, it is difficult to know when the clock starts ticking in this type of case. If your loved one suffered a heart attack in 2012 but the information linking the drug to this type of side effect was not known until 2017, we can argue there was no way to know this was a possible side effect five years ago. We might win this argument in court, or the judge might throw out your case because of the time limit. For this reason, we need to act quickly and file your case as soon as possible.
How Can I Reach an Actemra Arthritis Lawsuit Lawyer About My Case?
The attorneys at Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. know what it takes to win a case based on a defective medication and missing warning labels on prescriptions. We will take on the drug manufacturer, holding it liable, and recovering as much compensation as possible for our clients. Call our office today at 800-550-0000 to schedule a time to discuss your case for free with an Actemra lawsuit attorney.