A generic drug is a copy of the brand-name drug with the same dosage, safety, strength, quality, consumption method, performance, and intended use. Before generics become available on the market, the generic company must prove it has the same active ingredients as the brand-name drug and works in the same way and in the same amount of time in the body.
The only differences between generics and their brand-name counterparts is that generics are less expensive and may look slightly different (eg. different shape or color), as trademarks laws prevent a generic from looking exactly like the brand-name drug.
Generics are less expensive because generic manufacturers don't have to invest large sums of money to develop a drug. When the brand-name patent expires, generic companies can manufacture a copy of the brand-name and sell it at a substantial discount.
Actemra (tocilizumab) reduces the effects of a substance in the body that can cause inflammation. Actemra is used to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis in adults. It is sometimes used in together with other arthritis medications. Tocilizumab is usually given after other medications have been tried without successful treatment of symptoms. Actemra may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
It is very important that your doctor check your or your child's progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while receiving this medicine, your doctor may want you to join a registry for pregnant patients. You will need to have a skin test for tuberculosis before you or your child start using this medicine. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your home has ever had a positive reaction to a tuberculosis skin test. This medicine may increase your risk of developing infections. Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections while you or your child are using this medicine. Wash your hands often. Tell your doctor if you have any kind of infection before you start using this medicine. Also tell your doctor if you have ever had an infection that would not go away or an infection that kept coming back. Using this medicine may increase your risk of having certain cancers. Talk to your doctor if you or your child have concerns about this risk. Call your doctor right away if you or your child start to have a cough that won't go away, weight loss, night sweats, fever, chills, or flu-like symptoms, such as a runny or stuffy nose, headache, blurred vision, or feeling generally ill. These may be signs that you have an infection. Tocilizumab may cause headaches and skin reactions, such as a rash or itching, while you are receiving the injection or within 24 hours after you receive it. Check with your doctor or nurse right away if you or your child have any of these symptoms. This medicine may cause a serious type of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor right away if you or your child have a rash; hives; itching; swelling of the face, tongue, and throat; trouble breathing; or chest pain after you receive the medicine. This medicine may cause serious stomach and bowel problems, especially if you have a history of ulcers or diverticulosis. Check with your doctor right away if you or your child start having severe stomach cramps or pain; black, tarry stools; diarrhea; fever; or vomiting that is severe and sometimes bloody while being treated with this medicine. While you or your child are being treated with tocilizumab, and after you stop treatment, do not have any immunizations (vaccines) without your doctor's approval. Tocilizumab may lower your body's resistance, and there is a chance you might get the infection the immunization is meant to prevent. In addition, other persons living in your household should not get live vaccines (e.g., nasal flu virus vaccine). Try to avoid being around persons who have received live vaccines. Do not get close to them and do not stay in the same room with them for very long. If you or your child cannot take these precautions, you should wear a protective face mask that covers the nose and mouth. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about this. Your child's vaccines need to be current before he or she begins using tocilizumab injection. Be sure to ask your child's doctor if you have any questions about this. This medicine may increase the level of cholesterol and fats in your blood. If this condition occurs, your doctor may give you a medicine to lower the cholesterol and fats. Talk to your doctor if you or your child have concerns. Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention. Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur: More common: Abdominal or stomach pain; black, tarry stools; bloody or cloudy urine; blurred vision; body aches or pain; chest pain; cough; cough producing mucus; diarrhea; difficult, burning, or painful urination; difficulty with breathing; difficulty with swallowing; dizziness; ear congestion; fast heartbeat; feeling of warmth; fever or chills; frequent urge to urinate; headache; hives; itching; loss of appetite; loss of consciousness; loss of voice; lower back or side pain; nasal congestion; nausea; nervousness; pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones; painful blisters on the trunk of the body; pale skin; pounding in the ears; puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue; redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest; shortness of breath or troubled breathing; skin rash; slow or fast heartbeat; sneezing; sore throat; stuffy or runny nose; sudden sweating; tightness of the chest or wheezing; troubled breathing; ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual tiredness or weakness; weakness Less common: Bladder pain; blurred vision; burning feeling in the chest or stomach; confusion; dark urine; decrease in height; difficulty with moving; dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position; fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse; feeling hot; frequent urge to urinate; general feeling of discomfort or illness; heartburn; indigestion; itching, pain, redness, swelling, tenderness, or warmth on the skin at the injection site; joint pain; light-colored stools; muscle aches and pains; muscle cramps or stiffness; pain in the back, ribs, arms, or legs; pain in the groin or genitals; pale skin; severe stomach pain; sharp back pain just below the ribs; shivering; stomach upset; sweating; swelling; swollen joints; swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the face, neck, armpit, or groin; tenderness in the stomach area; trouble with sleeping; troubled breathing with exertion; unexplained runny nose or sneezing; upper right abdominal or stomach pain; vomiting; yellow eyes and skin Rare: Acid or sour stomach; belching; changes in skin color; confusion; coughing or spitting up blood; fainting; gaseous abdominal or stomach pain; lightheadedness; neck pain; night sweats; noisy breathing; pain; pain, swelling, or redness in the joints; rapid, shallow breathing; recurrent fever; red, tender, or oozing skin at incision; stomach bloating, burning, cramping, or pain; sudden high fever or low-grade fever for months; swelling of the foot or leg; swollen lymph nodes; weight loss