Actemra (generic: tocilizumab) is a prescription medication used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adults. It is also used to treat systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA) or polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (PJIA) in children 2 years or older.
Actemra is referred to as an interleukin-6, or IL-6, receptor inhibitor. IL-6 is a molecule produced by the body that binds to the IL-6 receptor and causes inflammation. Patients with arthritis have increased levels of IL-6 in their body. By blocking the IL-6 receptor, Actemra can decrease the symptoms of arthritis.
Actemra comes in an injectable form to be given directly into a vein (IV) by a healthcare provider. It is usually given once every 4 weeks for RA and PJIA or every 2 weeks for SJIA.
Common side effects of Actemra are cold-like symptoms, increased blood pressure, and headache.