Actemra: Arthritis drug causes deadly reactions
In 1897, snake oil was “a cure all” for arthritis that fraudsters sold in the Old West. It didn’t work. But it didn’t kill anyone as far as we know. When the fraud was exposed, it disappeared. Actemra has been associated with 26 deaths, according to a searing, investigative report by STAT News. But it hasn’t been recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
How dangerous is Actemra?
Actemra can cause heart failure, pancreatitis, heart attacks, strokes, interstitial lung disease, heart palpitations and hair loss and memory lapses, according to a disturbing 2017 investigative report by STAT News. Doctors are also prescribing it off label for “about 60 other conditions,” increasing the number of people at risk.
In 2010, after the FDA approved it, Actemra was hailed as a breakthrough drug that “wasn’t associated with heart attacks, heart failure, or life threatening lung complications” – side effects of its competitors – Humira, Remicade and Enbrel.
The STAT News report in 2017, found that “hundreds of patients” died or suffered cardiac events and lung disorders after taking Actemra. As it also points out, Actemra patients have “experienced an unusually large number of serious side effects “that don’t appear on its label.”
STAT analyzed more than 500,000 reports of side effects. It found the risk of taking Actemra is equal to, and in some cases, exceeds the risks associated with Humira, Remicade and Enbrel. These drugs list those risks on their labels. Actemra doesn’t.
- Interstitial lung disease has been reported by patients taking Actemra. Humira and Remicade warn patients about this side effect. Actemra doesn’t.
- Pancreatitis has been reported by patients taking Actemra. It killed 26 people. It’s a “very, very rare and potentially life-threatening disorder,” according to Dr. David Felson, a Boston University rheumatologist. He says any signal of it is a cause for worry.
- Also missing from Actemra’s label – warnings about heart attacks, strokes and heart failure that appear on the labels of Humira, Remicade and Enbrel.
Why doesn’t the FDA recall Actemra?
As this Wayne Wright Alert points out, in 2013 the FDA decided Actemra’s label didn’t need any changes. It said it might revise its decision “when a long term cardiovascular safety study” was done. Although those results were released last year, the FDA hasn’t changed its decision
Patients seeking justice after taking what seems like “snake oil,” – based on its misleading advertising – can turn to Wayne Wright. He is one of America’s top trial lawyers with scores of national legal awards that attest to his ability to win cases. You only pay fees, agreed upon in advance, when Wayne Wright wins your case. Calls and evaluations are free.
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