See why thousands of patients choose our centers as their preferred destination for ongoing care, including Actemra Infusion treatments.
Actemra is a biologic therapy that is indicated to treat:
- Moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who has had an inadequate response to one or more disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
- Giant cell arteritis (GCA)
- Active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- Active systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis
What Is Actemra?
Actemra (tocilizumab) is an FDA-approved prescription medication administered for patients in all IVX Health centers via IV infusion. Actemra is a type of medication called an interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor antagonist and has been used to treat a variety of complex conditions by changing the way your immune system works.
How Actemra Works
Actemra works by blocking the action of a bodily protein called interleukin-6 (IL-6). This protein is believed to play a part in rheumatoid arthritis. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), this protein connects to cells and tells them to activate. When the cell activates, it may contribute to the signs and symptoms of RA.
What Is Actemra Used For?
Doctors order tocilizumab to treat several medical conditions.
- moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who has had an inadequate response to one or more disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
- giant cell arteritis (GCA)
- active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- active systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis
Actemra Infusion Dosage and Administration
Patients receive tocilizumab intravenously. Treatment time for an Actemra infusion at a medical clinic like IVX Health usually lasts roughly 60 minutes.
Dosage and Frequency
Your Actemra infusion dose is based on your weight, so before every infusion you’ll be weighed. If your weight changes, you and your healthcare provider will decide if a change in dose is necessary.
Actemra is typically administered every four weeks.
Administering Actemra via IV Infusion
- The nurse prepares the patient’s arm by using rubbing alcohol to sterilize the location that is being used to insert the IV needle.
- Following needle insertion, the IV line is held in place with tape.
- The nurse attaches the patient’s IV line to the line coming down from the bag of medication.
Every half-an-hour, the patient’s nurse takes his or her vitals.
Actemra Infusion Side Effects
As with all medications, side effects are possible.
The most common side effects of Actemra include:
- Upper respiratory tract infections (common cold, sinus infections)
- Increased blood pressure
- Injection site reactions
Additional rarer side effects include:
- Serious allergic reactions including hives, rash, or flushing
- Nervous system problems
- Hepatitis B infection
- Liver problems (hepatoxicity)
- Tears or perforation of the stomach or intestines
During and after treatment, patients need to inform their healthcare provider or nurse if they experience any serious or persistent side effects, including:
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Swelling of lips, tongue, or face
- Chest pain
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Moderate to severe abdominal pain or vomiting
How To Prepare for an Actemra Infusion
It is essential that patients inform their physician if they currently have, or in the past had:
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- A weak immune system
- Tuberculosis (TB) or have been in contact with someone with TB
- Lived or have traveled to certain parts of the United States where there is an increased chance of getting fungal infections
- Hepatitis B
- Serious infections
- Allergies to any of Actemra’s ingredients
Before you start on Actemra, your healthcare provider will do a variety of blood tests. These tests will also occur 4 to 8 weeks after the first infusion treatment and then every 3 months or every 6 months depending on the type of test.
Before treatment, patients should get a good night’s sleep. In addition, they need to drink an adequate amount of fluid and eat a meal before their Actemra IV infusion treatment at IVX Health.
How to Get a Referral for Actemra IV Infusions
Every Remicade referral must be accompanied by a physician’s order for treatment.
- Patient information should include:
- Current address
- Home and mobile phone number
- Insurance information
Information the physician must include on the patient’s order for Remicade IV therapy:
- Patient’s name and DOB
- Order date
- Physician’s name and NPI#
- Office address, phone, and fax numbers
- Provider’s signature
Supporting clinical documentation from the physician should include:
- Results of a recent tuberculosis (TB) skin/lab test
- Clinicals to support one or more of the following:
- Patient has moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who has had an inadequate response to one or more disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
- Patient has giant cell arteritis (GCA)
- Patient has active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis
- Patient has active systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis
If you or someone you care about has one of the conditions that Actemra infusions treat, you may want to learn more about IV infusion treatments with tocilizumab. To find an IVX Health infusion center near you, please click here.
Patients chose IVX Health to receive their ongoing Actemra treatments because:
- ALL private suites
- Comfortable recliners, with chairs for guests
- Evening & weekend appointments
- Friendly clinical staff deliver personal service
- Big screen TVs, high-speed WiFi, free snacks