Actemra

Actemra information, interactions and side effects, ACTEMRA (tocilizumab) is a recombinant humanized anti-human interleukin 6 (IL-6) receptor monoclonal antibody of the immunoglobulin IgG1κ (gamma 1, kappa) subclass with a typical H2L2 polypeptide structure. Each light chain and heavy chain consists of 214 and 448 amino acids, respectively. The four polypeptide chains are linked intra- and inter-molecularly by disulfide bonds. ACTEMRA has a molecular weight of approximately 148 kDa.

ACTEMRA is supplied as a sterile, preservative-free solution for intravenous (IV) infusion at a concentration of 20 mg per mL. ACTEMRA is a colorless to pale yellow liquid, with a pH of about 6.5. Single-use vials are available for intravenous administration containing 80 mg per 4 mL, 200 mg per 10 mL, or 400 mg per 20 mL of ACTEMRA. Injectable solutions of ACTEMRA are formulated in an aqueous solution containing disodium phosphate dodecahydrate and sodium dihydrogen phosphate dehydrate (as a 15 mmol per L phosphate buffer), polysorbate 80 (0.5 mg per mL), and sucrose (50 mg per mL).

ACTEMRA solution for subcutaneous administration is supplied as a sterile, colorless to yellowish, preservative-free liquid solution of approximately pH 6.0. It is supplied in a 1 mL ready-to-use, single-use prefilled syringe (PFS) with a needle safety device. Each device delivers 0.9 mL (162 mg) of ACTEMRA, in a histidine buffered solution composed of ACTEMRA (180 mg/mL), polysorbate 80, L-histidine and L-histidine monohydrochloride, L-arginine and L-arginine hydrochloride, L-methionine, and water for injection.

INDICATIONS

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

ACTEMRA® (tocilizumab) is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis who have had an inadequate response to one or more Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs).

Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (PJIA)

ACTEMRA® (tocilizumab) is indicated for the treatment of active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis in patients 2 years of age and older.

Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (SJIA)

ACTEMRA® (tocilizumab) is indicated for the treatment of active systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis in patients 2 years of age and older.

DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

Rheumatoid Arthritis

ACTEMRA may be used as monotherapy or concomitantly with methotrexate or other non-biologic DMARDs as an intravenous infusion or as a subcutaneous injection.

Recommended Intravenous (IV) Dosage Regimen

The recommended dosage of ACTEMRA for adult patients given as a 60-minute single intravenous drip infusion is 4 mg per kg every 4 weeks followed by an increase to 8 mg per kg every 4 weeks based on clinical response.

  • Reduction of dose from 8 mg per kg to 4 mg per kg is recommended for management of certain dose-related laboratory changes including elevated liver enzymes, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia.
  • Doses exceeding 800 mg per infusion are not recommended in RA patients.
Recommended Subcutaneous (SC) Dosage Regimen

 

Patients less than 100 kg weight 162 mg administered subcutaneously every other week, followed by an increase to every week based on clinical response
Patients at or above 100 kg weight 162 mg administered subcutaneously every week

When transitioning from ACTEMRA intravenous therapy to subcutaneous administration administer the first subcutaneous dose instead of the next scheduled intravenous dose.

Interruption of dose or reduction in frequency of administration of subcutaneous dose from every week to every other week dosing is recommended for management of certain dose-related laboratory changes including elevated liver enzymes, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia.

Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

ACTEMRA may be used alone or in combination with methotrexate. The recommended dosage of ACTEMRA for PJIA patients given once every 4 weeks as a 60-minute single intravenous drip infusion is:

Recommended Intravenous PJIA Dosage Every 4 Weeks

 

Patients less than 30 kg weight 10 mg per kg
Patients at or above 30 kg weight 8 mg per kg

 

  • Do not change dose based solely on a single visit body weight measurement, as weight may fluctuate.
  • Interruption of dosing may be needed for management of dose-related laboratory abnormalities including elevated liver enzymes, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia.
  • Subcutaneous administration is not approved for PJIA.

Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

ACTEMRA may be used alone or in combination with methotrexate. The recommended dose of ACTEMRA for SJIA patients given once every 2 weeks as a 60-minute single intravenous drip infusion is:

Recommended Intravenous SJIA Dosage Every 2 Weeks

 

Patients less than 30 kg weight 12 mg per kg
Patients at or above 30 kg weight 8 mg per kg

 

  • Do not change a dose based solely on a single visit body weight measurement, as weight may fluctuate.
  • Interruption of dosing may be needed for management of dose-related laboratory abnormalities including elevated liver enzymes, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia.
  • Subcutaneous administration is not approved for SJIA.

General Considerations for Administration

  • ACTEMRA has not been studied in combination with biological DMARDs such as TNF antagonists, IL-1R antagonists, anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies and selective co-stimulation modulators because of the possibility of increased immunosuppression and increased risk of infection. Avoid using ACTEMRA with biological DMARDs.
  • It is recommended that ACTEMRA not be initiated in patients with an absolute neutrophil count (ANC) below 2000 per mm³, platelet count below 100,000 per mm³, or who have ALT or AST above 1.5 times the upper limit of normal (ULN).

Preparation and Administration Instructions for Intravenous Infusion

ACTEMRA for intravenous infusion should be diluted by a healthcare professional using aseptic technique as follows:

  • PJIA and SJIA patients less than 30 kg: use a 50 mL infusion bag or bottle of 0.9% Sodium Chloride, and then follow steps 1 and 2 below.
  • Adult RA, PJIA and SJIA patients at or above 30 kg weight: use a 100 mL infusion bag or bottle, and then follow steps 1 and 2 below.
    • Step 1. Withdraw a volume of 0.9% Sodium Chloride injection, equal to the volume of the ACTEMRA injection required for the patient’s dose from the infusion bag or bottle.

For Intravenous Use: Volume of ACTEMRA Injection per kg of Body Weight

 

Dosage Indication Volume of ACTEMRA injection per kg of body weight
4 mg/kg Adult RA 0.2mL/kg
8 mg/kg Adult RA SJIA and PJIA ( ≥ 30 kg of body weight) 0.4mL/kg
10 mg/kg PJIA ( < 30 kg of body weight) 0.5 mL/kg
12 mg/kg SJIA ( < 30 kg of body weight) 0.6mL/kg

 

    • Step 2. Withdraw the amount of ACTEMRA for intravenous infusion from the vial(s) and add slowly into the Sodium Chloride infusion bag or bottle. To mix the solution, gently invert the bag to avoid foaming.
  • The fully diluted ACTEMRA solutions for infusion may be stored at 2° to 8°C (36° to 46°F) or room temperature for up to 24 hours and should be protected from light. ACTEMRA solutions do not contain preservatives; therefore, unused product remaining in the vials should not be used.
  • Allow the fully diluted ACTEMRA solution to reach room temperature prior to infusion.
  • The infusion should be administered over 60 minutes, and must be administered with an infusion set. Do not administer as an intravenous push or bolus.
  • ACTEMRA should not be infused concomitantly in the same intravenous line with other drugs. No physical or biochemical compatibility studies have been conducted to evaluate the co-administration of ACTEMRA with other drugs.
  • Parenteral drug products should be inspected visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration, whenever solution and container permit. If particulates and discolorations are noted, the product should not be used.
  • Fully diluted ACTEMRA solutions are compatible with polypropylene, polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride infusion bags and polypropylene, polyethylene and glass infusion bottles.

Preparation and Administration Instructions for Subcutaneous Injection for RA

ACTEMRA for subcutaneous injection is only indicated in the treatment in patients with adult RA and is not indicated for the treatment of patients with PJIA or SJIA. ACTEMRA for subcutaneous injection is not intended for intravenous drip infusion.

  • ACTEMRA subcutaneous injection is intended for use under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner. After proper training in subcutaneous injection technique, a patient may self-inject ACTEMRA or the patient’s caregiver may administer ACTEMRA if a healthcare practitioner determines that it is appropriate. Patients, or patient caregivers, should be instructed to follow the directions provided in the Instructions for Use (IFU) for additional details on medication administration.
  • Parenteral drug products should be inspected visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration. Do not use ACTEMRA prefilled syringes (PFS) exhibiting particulate matter, cloudiness, or discoloration. ACTEMRA for subcutaneous administration should be clear and colorless to pale yellow. Do not use if any part of the PFS appears to be damaged.
  • Patients using ACTEMRA for subcutaneous administration should be instructed to inject the full amount in the syringe (0.9 mL), which provides 162 mg of ACTEMRA, according to the directions provided in the IFU.
  • Injection sites should be rotated with each injection and should never be given into moles, scars, or areas where the skin is tender, bruised, red, hard, or not intact.

Dosage Modifications due to Serious Infections or Laboratory Abnormalities

Hold ACTEMRA treatment if a patient develops a serious infection until the infection is controlled.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Liver Enzyme Abnormalities

 

Lab Value Recommendation
Greater than 1 to 3x ULN Dose modify concomitant DMARDs if appropriate For persistent increases in this range:

  • For patients receiving intravenous ACTEMRA, reduce dose to 4 mg per kg or hold ACTEMRA until ALT or AST have normalized
  • For patients receiving subcutaneous ACTEMRA, reduce injection frequency to every other week or hold dosing until ALT or AST have normalized. Resume ACTEMRA at every other week and increase frequency to every week as clinically appropriate.
Greater than 3 to 5x ULN (confirmed by repeat testing) Hold ACTEMRA dosing until less than 3x ULN and follow recommendations above for greater than 1 to 3x ULN For persistent increases greater than 3x ULN, discontinue ACTEMRA
Greater than 5x ULN Discontinue ACTEMRA

 

Low Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC)

 

Lab Value (cells per mm³) Recommendation
ANC greater than 1000 Maintain dose
ANC 500 to 1000 Hold ACTEMRA dosing When ANC greater than 1000 cells per mm³:

  • For patients receiving intravenous ACTEMRA, resume ACTEMRA at 4 mg per kg and increase to 8 mg per kg as clinically appropriate
  • For patients receiving subcutaneous ACTEMRA, resume ACTEMRA at every other week and increase frequency to every week as clinically appropriate
ANC less than 500 Discontinue ACTEMRA

 

Low Platelet Count

 

Lab Value (cells per mm³) Recommendation
50,000 to 100,000 Hold ACTEMRA dosing When platelet count is greater than 100,000 cells per mm³:

  • For patients receiving intravenous ACTEMRA, resume ACTEMRA at 4 mg per kg and increase to 8 mg per kg as clinically appropriate
  • For patients receiving subcutaneous ACTEMRA, resume ACTEMRA at every other week and increase frequency to every week as clinically appropriate
Less than 50,000 Discontinue ACTEMRA

 

Polyarticular and Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Dose reduction of ACTEMRA has not been studied in the PJIA and SJIA populations. Dose interruptions of ACTEMRA are recommended for liver enzyme abnormalities, low neutrophil counts, and low platelet counts in patients with PJIA and SJIA at levels similar to what is outlined above for patients with RA. If appropriate, dose modify or stop concomitant methotrexate and/or other medications and hold ACTEMRA dosing until the clinical situation has been evaluated. In PJIA and SJIA the decision to discontinue ACTEMRA for a laboratory abnormality should be based upon the medical assessment of the individual patient.

HOW SUPPLIED

Dosage Forms And Strengths

Single-use vials of ACTEMRA (20 mg per mL) for IV administration
  • 80 mg per 4 mL
  • 200 mg per 10 mL
  • 400 mg per 20 mL
Prefilled Syringe (PFS) for SC administration
  • A single-use prefilled glass syringe providing 162 mg of ACTEMRA in 0.9mL

Storage And Handling

For Intravenous Infusion

ACTEMRA (tocilizumab) is supplied in single-use vials as a preservative-free, sterile concentrate (20 mg per mL) solution for intravenous infusion. The following packaging configurations are available:

Individually packaged, single-use vials:

NDC 50242-135-01 providing 80 mg per 4 mL
NDC 50242-136-01 providing 200 mg per 10 mL
NDC 50242-137-01 providing 400 mg per 20 mL

For Subcutaneous Injection

ACTEMRA (tocilizumab) for subcutaneous administration is supplied as a sterile preservative-free liquid solution in a single-use prefilled syringe. The following packaging configurations are available:

NDC 50242-138-01 prefilled syringe providing 162 mg per 0.9mL

Storage and Stability: Do not use beyond expiration date on the container, package or prefilled syringe. ACTEMRA must be refrigerated at 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F). Do not freeze. Protect the vials and syringes from light by storage in the original package until time of use, and keep syringes dry. Parenteral drug products should be inspected visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration, whenever solution and container permit. If visibly opaque particles, discoloration or other foreign particles are observed, the solution should not be used.

SIDE EFFECTS

Because clinical studies are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical studies of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical studies of another drug and may not predict the rates observed in a broader patient population in clinical practice.

Clinical Trials Experience in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Treated with Intravenous ACTEMRA (ACTEMRA-IV)

The ACTEMRA-IV data in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) includes 5 double-blind, controlled, multicenter studies. In these studies, patients received doses of ACTEMRA-IV 8 mg per kg monotherapy (288 patients), ACTEMRA-IV 8 mg per kg in combination with DMARDs (including methotrexate) (1582 patients), or ACTEMRA-IV 4 mg per kg in combination with methotrexate (774 patients).

The all exposure population includes all patients in registration studies who received at least one dose of ACTEMRA-IV. Of the 4009 patients in this population, 3577 received treatment for at least 6 months, 3309 for at least one year; 2954 received treatment for at least 2 years and 2189 for 3 years.

All patients in these studies had moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis. The study population had a mean age of 52 years, 82% were female and 74% were Caucasian.

The most common serious adverse reactions were serious infections. The most commonly reported adverse reactions in controlled studies up to 24 weeks (occurring in at least 5% of patients treated with ACTEMRA-IV monotherapy or in combination with DMARDs) were upper respiratory tract infections, nasopharyngitis, headache, hypertension and increased ALT.

The proportion of patients who discontinued treatment due to any adverse reactions during the double-blind, placebo-controlled studies was 5% for patients taking ACTEMRA-IV and 3% for placebo-treated patients. The most common adverse reactions that required discontinuation of ACTEMRA-IV were increased hepatic transaminase values (per protocol requirement) and serious infections.

Overall Infections

In the 24 week, controlled clinical studies, the rate of infections in the ACTEMRA-IV monotherapy group was 119 events per 100 patient-years and was similar in the methotrexate monotherapy group. The rate of infections in the 4 mg per kg and 8 mg per kg ACTEMRA-IV plus DMARD group was 133 and 127 events per 100 patient-years, respectively, compared to 112 events per 100 patient-years in the placebo plus DMARD group. The most commonly reported infections (5% to 8% of patients) were upper respiratory tract infections and nasopharyngitis.

The overall rate of infections with ACTEMRA-IV in the all exposure population remained consistent with rates in the controlled periods of the studies.

Serious Infections

In the 24 week, controlled clinical studies, the rate of serious infections in the ACTEMRA-IV monotherapy group was 3.6 per 100 patient-years compared to 1.5 per 100 patient-years in the methotrexate group. The rate of serious infections in the 4 mg per kg and 8 mg per kg ACTEMRA-IV plus DMARD group was 4.4 and 5.3 events per 100 patient-years, respectively, compared to 3.9 events per 100 patient-years in the placebo plus DMARD group.

In the all-exposure population, the overall rate of serious infections remained consistent with rates in the controlled periods of the studies. The most common serious infections included pneumonia, urinary tract infection, cellulitis, herpes zoster, gastroenteritis, diverticulitis, sepsis and bacterial arthritis. Cases of opportunistic infections have been reported.

Gastrointestinal Perforations

During the 24 week, controlled clinical trials, the overall rate of gastrointestinal perforation was 0.26 events per 100 patient-years with ACTEMRA-IV therapy.

In the all-exposure population, the overall rate of gastrointestinal perforation remained consistent with rates in the controlled periods of the studies. Reports of gastrointestinal perforation were primarily reported as complications of diverticulitis including generalized purulent peritonitis, lower GI perforation, fistula and abscess. Most patients who developed gastrointestinal perforations were taking concomitant nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, or methotrexate. The relative contribution of these concomitant medications versus ACTEMRA-IV to the development of GI perforations is not known.

Infusion Reactions

In the 24 week, controlled clinical studies, adverse events associated with the infusion (occurring during or within 24 hours of the start of infusion) were reported in 8% and 7% of patients in the 4 mg per kg and 8 mg per kg ACTEMRA-IV plus DMARD group, respectively, compared to 5% of patients in the placebo plus DMARD group. The most frequently reported event on the 4 mg per kg and 8 mg per kg dose during the infusion was hypertension (1% for both doses), while the most frequently reported event occurring within 24 hours of finishing an infusion were headache (1% for both doses) and skin reactions (1% for both doses), including rash, pruritus and urticaria. These events were not treatment limiting.

Anaphylaxis

Hypersensitivity reactions requiring treatment discontinuation, including anaphylaxis, associated with ACTEMRA-IV were reported in 0.1% (3 out of 2644) in the 24 week, controlled trials and in 0.2% (8 out of 4009) in the all-exposure population. These reactions were generally observed during the second to fourth infusion of ACTEMRA-IV. Appropriate medical treatment should be available for immediate use in the event of a serious hypersensitivity reaction.

Laboratory Abnormalities

Neutropenia

In the 24 week, controlled clinical studies, decreases in neutrophil counts below 1000 per mm³occurred in 1.8% and 3.4% of patients in the 4 mg per kg and 8 mg per kg ACTEMRA-IV plus DMARD group, respectively, compared to 0.1% of patients in the placebo plus DMARD group. Approximately half of the instances of ANC below 1000 per mm³occurred within 8 weeks of starting therapy. Decreases in neutrophil counts below 500 per mm³occurred in 0.4% and 0.3% of patients in the 4 mg per kg and 8 mg per kg ACTEMRA-IV plus DMARD, respectively, compared to 0.1% of patients in the placebo plus DMARD group. There was no clear relationship between decreases in neutrophils below 1000 per mm³and the occurrence of serious infections.

In the all-exposure population, the pattern and incidence of decreases in neutrophil counts remained consistent with what was seen in the 24 week controlled clinical studies.

Thrombocytopenia

In the 24 week, controlled clinical studies, decreases in platelet counts below 100,000 per mm³occurred in 1.3% and 1.7% of patients on 4 mg per kg and 8 mg per kg ACTEMRA-IV plus DMARD, respectively, compared to 0.5% of patients on placebo plus DMARD, without associated bleeding events.

In the all-exposure population, the pattern and incidence of decreases in platelet counts remained consistent with what was seen in the 24 week controlled clinical studies.

Elevated Liver Enzymes

Liver enzyme abnormalities are summarized in Table 1. In patients experiencing liver enzyme elevation, modification of treatment regimen, such as reduction in the dose of concomitant DMARD, interruption of ACTEMRA-IV, or reduction in ACTEMRA-IV dose, resulted in decrease or normalization of liver enzymes. These elevations were not associated with clinically relevant increases in direct bilirubin, nor were they associated with clinical evidence of hepatitis or hepatic insufficiency.

Table 1 : Incidence of Liver Enzyme Abnormalities in the 24 Week Controlled Period of Studies I to V*

 

ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg MONOTHERAPY
N = 288
(%)
Methotrexate
N = 284
(%)
ACTEMRA 4 mg per kg + DMARDs
N = 774
(%)
ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg + DMARDs
N = 1582
(%)
Placebo + DMARDs
N = 1170
(%)
AST (U/L)
> ULN to 3x ULN 22 26 34 41 17
> 3x ULN to 5x ULN 0.3 2 1 2 0.3
> 5x ULN 0.7 0.4 0.1 0.2 < 0.1
ALT (U/L)
> ULN to 3x ULN 36 33 45 48 23
> 3x ULN to 5x ULN 1 4 5 5 1
> 5x ULN 0.7 1 1.3 1.5 0.3
ULN = Upper Limit of Normal
*For a description of these studies.

In the all-exposure population, the elevations in ALT and AST remained consistent with what was seen in the 24 week, controlled clinical trials

Lipids

Elevations in lipid parameters (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides) were first assessed at 6 weeks following initiation of ACTEMRA-IV in the controlled 24 week clinical trials. Increases were observed at this time point and remained stable thereafter. Increases in triglycerides to levels above 500 mg per dL were rarely observed. Changes in other lipid parameters from baseline to week 24 were evaluated and are summarized below:

  • Mean LDL increased by 13 mg per dL in the ACTEMRA 4 mg per kg+DMARD arm, 20 mg per dL in the ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg+DMARD, and 25 mg per dL in ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg monotherapy.
  • Mean HDL increased by 3 mg per dL in the ACTEMRA 4 mg per kg+DMARD arm, 5 mg per dL in the ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg+DMARD, and 4 mg per dL in ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg monotherapy.
  • Mean LDL/HDL ratio increased by an average of 0.14 in the ACTEMRA 4 mg per kg+DMARD arm, 0.15 in the ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg+DMARD, and 0.26 in ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg monotherapy.
  • ApoB/ApoA1 ratios were essentially unchanged in ACTEMRA-treated patients.

Elevated lipids responded to lipid lowering agents.

In the all-exposure population, the elevations in lipid parameters remained consistent with what was seen in the 24 week, controlled clinical trials.

Immunogenicity

In the 24 week, controlled clinical studies, a total of 2876 patients have been tested for anti-tocilizumab antibodies. Forty-six patients (2%) developed positive anti-tocilizumab antibodies, of whom 5 had an associated, medically significant, hypersensitivity reaction leading to withdrawal. Thirty patients (1%) developed neutralizing antibodies.

The data reflect the percentage of patients whose test results were positive for antibodies to tocilizumab in specific assays. The observed incidence of antibody positivity in an assay is highly dependent on several factors, including assay sensitivity and specificity, assay methodology, sample handling, timing of sample collection, concomitant medication, and underlying disease. For these reasons, comparison of the incidence of antibodies to tocilizumab with the incidence of antibodies to other products may be misleading.

Malignancies

During the 24 week, controlled period of the studies, 15 malignancies were diagnosed in patients receiving ACTEMRA-IV, compared to 8 malignancies in patients in the control groups. Exposure-adjusted incidence was similar in the ACTEMRA-IV groups (1.32 events per 100 patient-years) and in the placebo plus DMARD group (1.37 events per 100 patient-years).

In the all-exposure population, the rate of malignancies remained consistent with the rate observed in the 24 week, controlled period.

Other Adverse Reactions

Adverse reactions occurring in 2% or more of patients on 4 or 8 mg per kg ACTEMRA-IV plus DMARD and at least 1% greater than that observed in patients on placebo plus DMARD are summarized in Table 2.

Table 2 : Adverse Reactions Occurring in at Least 2% or More of Patients on 4 or 8 mg per kg ACTEMRA plus DMARD and at Least 1% Greater Than That Observed in Patients on Placebo plus DMARD

 

Preferred Term 24 Week Phase 3 Controlled Study Population
ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg MONOTHERAPY
N = 288
(%)
Methotrexate
N = 284
(%)
ACTEMRA 4 mg per kg + DMARDs
N = 774
(%)
ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg + DMARDs
N = 1582
(%)
Placebo + DMARDs
N = 1170
(%)
Upper Respiratory Tract Infection 7 5 6 8 6
Nasopharyngitis 7 6 4 6 4
Headache 7 2 6 5 3
Hypertension 6 2 4 4 3
ALT increased 6 4 3 3 1
Dizziness 3 1 2 3 2
Bronchitis 3 2 4 3 3
Rash 2 1 4 3 1
Mouth Ulceration 2 2 1 2 1
Abdominal Pain Upper 2 2 3 3 2
Gastritis 1 2 1 2 1
Transaminase increased 1 5 2 2 1

Other infrequent and medically relevant adverse reactions occurring at an incidence less than 2% in rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with ACTEMRA-IV in controlled trials were:

Infections and Infestations: oral herpes simplex

Gastrointestinal disorders: stomatitis, gastric ulcer

Investigations: weight increased, total bilirubin increased

Blood and lymphatic system disorders: leukopenia

General disorders and administration site conditions: edema peripheral

Respiratory, thoracic, and mediastinal disorders: dyspnea, cough

Eye disorders: conjunctivitis

Renal disorders: nephrolithiasis

Endocrine disorders: hypothyroidism

Clinical Trials Experience in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Treated with Subcutaneous ACTEMRA (ACTEMRA-SC)

The ACTEMRA-SC data in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) includes 2 double-blind, controlled, multicenter studies. Study SC-I was a non-inferiority study that compared the efficacy and safety of tocilizumab 162 mg administered every week subcutaneously (SC) and 8 mg/kg intravenously (IV) every four weeks in 1262 adult subjects with rheumatoid arthritis. Study SC-II was a placebo controlled superiority study that evaluated the safety and efficacy of tocilizumab 162 mg administered every other week SC or placebo in 656 patients. All patients in both studies received background non-biologic DMARDs.

The safety observed for ACTEMRA administered subcutaneously was consistent with the known safety profile of intravenous ACTEMRA, with the exception of injection site reactions, which were more common with ACTEMRA-SC compared with placebo SC injections (IV arm).

Injection Site Reactions

In the 6-month control period, in SC-I, the frequency of injection site reactions was 10.1% (64/631) and 2.4% (15/631) for the weekly ACTEMRA-SC and placebo SC (IV-arm) groups, respectively. In SC-II, the frequency of injection site reactions was 7.1% (31/437) and 4.1% (9/218) for the every other week SC ACTEMRA and placebo groups, respectively. These injection site reactions (including erythema, pruritus, pain and hematoma) were mild to moderate in severity. The majority resolved without any treatment and none necessitated drug discontinuation.

Immunogenicity

In the 6-month control period in SC-I, 0.8% (5/625) in the ACTEMRA-SC arm and 0.8% (5/627) in the IV arm developed anti-tocilizumab antibodies; of these, all developed neutralizing antibodies. In SC-II, 1.6% (7/434) in the ACTEMRA-SC arm compared with 1.4 % (3/217) in the placebo arm developed anti- tocilizumab antibodies; of these, 1.4% (6/434) in the ACTEMRA-SC arm and 0.5% (1/217) in the placebo arm also developed neutralizing antibodies.

A total of 1454 ( > 99%) patients who received ACTEMRA-SC in the all exposure group have been tested for anti-tocilizumab antibodies. Thirteen patients (0.9%) developed anti-tocilizumab antibodies, and, of these, 12 patients (0.8%) developed neutralizing antibodies.

The rate is consistent with previous intravenous experience. No correlation of antibody development to adverse events or loss of clinical response was observed.

Laboratory Abnormalities

Neutropenia

During routine laboratory monitoring in the 6-month controlled clinical trials, a decrease in neutrophil count below 1 × 109/L occurred in 2.9% and 3.7% of patients receiving ACTEMRA-SC weekly and every other week, respectively.

There was no clear relationship between decreases in neutrophils below 1 x 109/L and the occurrence of serious infections.

Thrombocytopenia

During routine laboratory monitoring in the ACTEMRA-SC 6-month controlled clinical trials, none of the patients had a decrease in platelet count to ≤ 50 × 103/mcL.

Elevated Liver Enzymes

During routine laboratory monitoring in the 6-month controlled clinical trials, elevation in ALT or AST ≥ 3 x ULN occurred in 6.5% and 1.4% of patients, respectively, receiving ACTEMRA-SC weekly and 3.4% and 0.7% receiving ACTEMRA SC every other week.

Lipids

During routine laboratory monitoring in the ACTEMRA-SC 6-month clinical trials, 19% of patients dosed weekly and 19.6% of patients dosed every other week and 10.2% of patients on placebo experienced sustained elevations in total cholesterol > 6.2 mmol/l (240 mg/dL), with 9%, 10.4% and 5.1% experiencing a sustained increase in LDL to 4.1 mmol/l (160 mg/dL) receiving ACTEMRA-SC weekly, every other week and placebo, respectively.

Clinical Trials Experience in Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Patients Treated With Intravenous ACTEMRA (ACTEMRA-IV)

The safety of ACTEMRA-IV was studied in 188 pediatric patients 2 to 17 years of age with PJIA who had an inadequate clinical response or were intolerant to methotrexate. The total patient exposure in the ACTEMRAIV all exposure population (defined as patients who received at least one dose of ACTEMRA-IV) was 184.4 patient years. At baseline, approximately half of the patients were taking oral corticosteroids and almost 80% were taking methotrexate. In general, the types of adverse drug reactions in patients with PJIA were consistent with those seen in RA and SJIA patients.

Infections

The rate of infections in the ACTEMRA-IV all exposure population was 163.7 per 100 patient years. The most common events observed were nasopharyngitis and upper respiratory tract infections. The rate of serious infections was numerically higher in patients weighing less than 30 kg treated with 10 mg/kg tocilizumab (12.2 per 100 patient years) compared to patients weighing at or above 30 kg, treated with 8 mg/kg tocilizumab (4.0 per 100 patient years). The incidence of infections leading to dose interruptions was also numerically higher in patients weighing less than 30 kg treated with 10 mg/kg tocilizumab (21%) compared to patients weighing at or above 30 kg, treated with 8 mg/kg tocilizumab (8%).

Infusion Reactions

In PJIA patients, infusion-related reactions are defined as all events occurring during or within 24 hours of an infusion. In the ACTEMRA-IV all exposure population, 11 patients (6%) experienced an event during the infusion, and 38 patients (20.2%) experienced an event within 24 hours of an infusion. The most common events occurring during infusion were headache, nausea and hypotension, and occurring within 24 hours of infusion were dizziness and hypotension. In general, the adverse drug reactions observed during or within 24 hours of an infusion were similar in nature to those seen in RA and SJIA patients.

No clinically significant hypersensitivity reactions associated with tocilizumab and requiring treatment discontinuation were reported.

Immunogenicity

One patient, in the 10 mg/kg less than 30 kg group, developed positive anti-tocilizumab antibodies without developing a hypersensitivity reaction and subsequently withdrew from the study.

Laboratory Abnormalities

Neutropenia

During routine laboratory monitoring in the ACTEMRA-IV all exposure population, a decrease in neutrophil counts below 1 × 109 per L occurred in 3.7% of patients.

There was no clear relationship between decreases in neutrophils below 1 x 109 per L and the occurrence of serious infections.

Thrombocytopenia

During routine laboratory monitoring in the ACTEMRA-IV all exposure population, 1% of patients had a decrease in platelet count at or less than 50 × 103 per mcL without associated bleeding events.

Elevated Liver Enzymes

During routine laboratory monitoring in the ACTEMRA-IV all exposure population, elevation in ALT or AST at or greater than 3 x ULN occurred in 4% and less than 1% of patients, respectively.

Lipids

During routine laboratory monitoring in the tocilizumab all exposure population, elevation in total cholesterol greater than 1.5-2 x ULN occurred in one patient (0.5%) and elevation in LDL greater than 1.5-2 x ULN occurred in one patient (0.5%).

Clinical Trials Experience in Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Patients Treated with Intravenous ACTEMRA (ACTEMRA-IV)

The data described below reflect exposure to ACTEMRA-IV in one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 112 pediatric patients with SJIA 2 to 17 years of age who had an inadequate clinical response to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids due to toxicity or lack of efficacy. At baseline, approximately half of the patients were taking 0.3 mg/kg/day corticosteroids or more, and almost 70% were taking methotrexate. The trial included a 12 week controlled phase followed by an open-label extension. In the 12 week double-blind, controlled portion of the clinical study 75 patients received treatment with ACTEMRA-IV (8 or 12 mg per kg based upon body weight). After 12 weeks or at the time of escape, due to disease worsening, patients were treated with ACTEMRA-IV in the open-label extension phase.

The most common adverse events (at least 5%) seen in ACTEMRA-IV treated patients in the 12 week controlled portion of the study were: upper respiratory tract infection, headache, nasopharyngitis and diarrhea.

Infections

In the 12 week controlled phase, the rate of all infections in the ACTEMRA-IV group was 345 per 100 patient-years and 287 per 100 patient-years in the placebo group. In the open label extension over an average duration of 73 weeks of treatment, the overall rate of infections was 304 per 100 patient-years.

In the 12 week controlled phase, the rate of serious infections in the ACTEMRA-IV group was 11.5 per 100 patient years. In the open label extension over an average duration of 73 weeks of treatment, the overall rate of serious infections was 11.4 per 100 patient years. The most commonly reported serious infections included pneumonia, gastroenteritis, varicella, and otitis media.

Macrophage Activation Syndrome

In the 12 week controlled study, no patient in any treatment group experienced macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) while on assigned treatment; 3 per 112 (3%) developed MAS during open-label treatment with ACTEMRA-IV. One patient in the placebo group escaped to ACTEMRA-IV 12 mg per kg at Week 2 due to severe disease activity, and ultimately developed MAS at Day 70. Two additional patients developed MAS during the long-term extension. All 3 patients had ACTEMRA-IV dose interrupted (2 patients) or discontinued (1 patient) for the MAS event, received treatment, and the MAS resolved without sequelae. Based on a limited number of cases, the incidence of MAS does not appear to be elevated in the ACTEMRA-IV SJIA clinical development experience; however no definitive conclusions can be made.

Infusion Reactions

Patients were not premedicated, however most patients were on concomitant corticosteroids as part of their background treatment for SJIA. Infusion related reactions were defined as all events occurring during or within 24 hours after an infusion. In the 12 week controlled phase, 4% of ACTEMRA-IV and 0% of placebo treated patients experienced events occurring during infusion. One event (angioedema) was considered serious and life-threatening, and the patient was discontinued from study treatment.

Within 24 hours after infusion, 16% of patients in the ACTEMRA-IV treatment group and 5% of patients in the placebo group experienced an event. In the ACTEMRA-IV group the events included rash, urticaria, diarrhea, epigastric discomfort, arthralgia and headache. One of these events, urticaria, was considered serious.

Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis was reported in 1 out of 112 patients (less than 1%) treated with ACTEMRA-IV during the controlled and open label extension study.

Immunogenicity

All 112 patients were tested for anti-tocilizumab antibodies at baseline. Two patients developed positive antitocilizumab antibodies: one of these patients experienced serious adverse events of urticaria and angioedema consistent with an anaphylactic reaction which led to withdrawal; the other patient developed macrophage activation syndrome while on escape therapy and was discontinued from the study.

Laboratory Abnormalities

Neutropenia

During routine monitoring in the 12 week controlled phase, a decrease in neutrophil below 1 × 109 per L occurred in 7% of patients in the ACTEMRA-IV group, and in no patients in the placebo group. In the open label extension over an average duration of 73 weeks of treatment, a decreased neutrophil count occurred in 17% of the ACTEMRA-IV group. There was no clear relationship between decrease in neutrophils below 1 x 109 per L and the occurrence of serious infections.

Thrombocytopenia

During routine monitoring in the 12 week controlled phase, 1% of patients in the ACTEMRA-IV group and 3% in the placebo group had a decrease in platelet count to no more than 100 × 103 per mcL.

In the open label extension over an average duration of 73 weeks of treatment, decreased platelet count occurred in 4% of patients in the ACTEMRA-IV group, with no associated bleeding.

Elevated Liver Enzymes

During routine laboratory monitoring in the 12 week controlled phase, elevation in ALT or AST at or above 3x ULN occurred in 5% and 3% of patients, respectively in the ACTEMRA-IV group and in 0% of placebo patients.

In the open label extension over an average duration of 73 weeks of treatment, the elevation in ALT or AST at or above 3x ULN occurred in 13% and 5% of ACTEMRA-IV treated patients, respectively.

Lipids

During routine laboratory monitoring in the 12 week controlled phase, elevation in total cholesterol greater than 1.5x ULN – 2x ULN occurred in 1.5% of the ACTEMRA-IV group and in 0% of placebo patients. Elevation in LDL greater than 1.5x ULN – 2x ULN occurred in 1.9% of patients in the ACTEMRA-IV group and 0% of the placebo group.

In the open label extension study over an average duration of 73 weeks of treatment, the pattern and incidence of elevations in lipid parameters remained consistent with the 12 week controlled study data.

Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of intravenous ACTEMRA. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

  • Fatal anaphylaxis

DRUG INTERACTIONS

Other Drugs for Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Population pharmacokinetic analyses did not detect any effect of methotrexate (MTX), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids on tocilizumab clearance.

Concomitant administration of a single intravenous dose of 10 mg per kg ACTEMRA with 10-25 mg MTX once weekly had no clinically significant effect on MTX exposure.

ACTEMRA has not been studied in combination with biological DMARDs such as TNF antagonists.

Interactions with CYP450 Substrates

Cytochrome P450s in the liver are down-regulated by infection and inflammation stimuli including cytokines such as IL-6. Inhibition of IL-6 signaling in RA patients treated with tocilizumab may restore CYP450 activities to higher levels than those in the absence of tocilizumab leading to increased metabolism of drugs that are CYP450 substrates. In vitro studies showed that tocilizumab has the potential to affect expression of multiple CYP enzymes including CYP1A2, CYP2B6, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6 and CYP3A4. Its effects on CYP2C8 or transporters is unknown. In vivo studies with omeprazole, metabolized by CYP2C19 and CYP3A4, and simvastatin, metabolized by CYP3A4, showed up to a 28% and 57% decrease in exposure one week following a single dose of ACTEMRA, respectively. The effect of tocilizumab on CYP enzymes may be clinically relevant for CYP450 substrates with narrow therapeutic index, where the dose is individually adjusted. Upon initiation or discontinuation of ACTEMRA, in patients being treated with these types of medicinal products, perform therapeutic monitoring of effect (e.g., warfarin) or drug concentration (e.g., cyclosporine or theophylline) and the individual dose of the medicinal product adjusted as needed. Exercise caution when coadministering ACTEMRA with CYP3A4 substrate drugs where decrease in effectiveness is undesirable, e.g., oral contraceptives, lovastatin, atorvastatin, etc. The effect of tocilizumab on CYP450 enzyme activity may persist for several weeks after stopping therapy.

Live Vaccines

Avoid use of live vaccines concurrently with ACTEMRA.

Drug Abuse And Dependence

No studies on the potential for ACTEMRA to cause dependence have been performed. However, there is no evidence from the available data that ACTEMRA treatment results in dependence.

PRECAUTIONS

Serious Infections

Serious and sometimes fatal infections due to bacterial, mycobacterial, invasive fungal, viral, protozoal, or other opportunistic pathogens have been reported in patients receiving immunosuppressive agents including ACTEMRA for rheumatoid arthritis. The most common serious infections included pneumonia, urinary tract infection, cellulitis, herpes zoster, gastroenteritis, diverticulitis, sepsis and bacterial arthritis [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. Among opportunistic infections, tuberculosis, cryptococcus, aspergillosis, candidiasis, and pneumocystosis were reported with ACTEMRA. Other serious infections, not reported in clinical studies, may also occur (e.g., histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis, listeriosis). Patients have presented with disseminated rather than localized disease, and were often taking concomitant immunosuppressants such as methotrexate or corticosteroids which in addition to rheumatoid arthritis may predispose them to infections.

Do not administer ACTEMRA in patients with an active infection, including localized infections. The risks and benefits of treatment should be considered prior to initiating ACTEMRA in patients:

  • with chronic or recurrent infection;
  • who have been exposed to tuberculosis;
  • with a history of serious or an opportunistic infection;
  • who have resided or traveled in areas of endemic tuberculosis or endemic mycoses; or
  • with underlying conditions that may predispose them to infection.

Closely monitor patients for the development of signs and symptoms of infection during and after treatment with ACTEMRA, as signs and symptoms of acute inflammation may be lessened due to suppression of the acute phase reactants.

Hold ACTEMRA if a patient develops a serious infection, an opportunistic infection, or sepsis. A patient who develops a new infection during treatment with ACTEMRA should undergo a prompt and complete diagnostic workup appropriate for an immunocompromised patient, initiate appropriate antimicrobial therapy, and closely monitor the patient.

Tuberculosis

Evaluate patients for tuberculosis risk factors and test for latent infection prior to initiating ACTEMRA.

Consider anti-tuberculosis therapy prior to initiation of ACTEMRA in patients with a past history of latent or active tuberculosis in whom an adequate course of treatment cannot be confirmed, and for patients with a negative test for latent tuberculosis but having risk factors for tuberculosis infection. Consultation with a physician with expertise in the treatment of tuberculosis is recommended to aid in the decision whether initiating anti-tuberculosis therapy is appropriate for an individual patient.

Closely monitor patients for the development of signs and symptoms of tuberculosis including patients who tested negative for latent tuberculosis infection prior to initiating therapy.

It is recommended that patients be screened for latent tuberculosis infection prior to starting ACTEMRA. The incidence of tuberculosis in worldwide clinical development programs is 0.1%. Patients with latent tuberculosis should be treated with standard antimycobacterial therapy before initiating ACTEMRA.

Viral Reactivation

Viral reactivation has been reported with immunosuppressive biologic therapies and cases of herpes zoster exacerbation were observed in clinical studies with ACTEMRA. No cases of Hepatitis B reactivation were observed in the trials; however patients who screened positive for hepatitis were excluded.

Gastrointestinal Perforations

Events of gastrointestinal perforation have been reported in clinical trials, primarily as complications of diverticulitis in RA patients. Use ACTEMRA with caution in patients who may be at increased risk for gastrointestinal perforation. Promptly evaluate patients presenting with new onset abdominal symptoms for early identification of gastrointestinal perforation.

Laboratory Parameters

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Neutropenia

Treatment with ACTEMRA was associated with a higher incidence of neutropenia. Infections have been uncommonly reported in association with treatment-related neutropenia in long-term extension studies and postmarketing clinical experience.

  • It is not recommended to initiate ACTEMRA treatment in patients with a low neutrophil count, i.e., absolute neutrophil count (ANC) less than 2000 per mm³. In patients who develop an absolute neutrophil count less than 500 per mm³treatment is not recommended.
  • Monitor neutrophils 4 to 8 weeks after start of therapy and every 3 months thereafter. For recommended modifications based on ANC results see.

Thrombocytopenia

Treatment with ACTEMRA was associated with a reduction in platelet counts. Treatment-related reduction in platelets was not associated with serious bleeding events in clinical trials.

  • It is not recommended to initiate ACTEMRA treatment in patients with a platelet count below 100,000 per mm³. In patients who develop a platelet count less than 50,000 per mm³treatment is not recommended.
  • Monitor platelets 4 to 8 weeks after start of therapy and every 3 months thereafter. For recommended modifications based on platelet counts see.

Elevated Liver Enzymes

Treatment with ACTEMRA was associated with a higher incidence of transaminase elevations. These elevations did not result in apparent permanent or clinically evident hepatic injury in clinical trials. Increased frequency and magnitude of these elevations was observed when potentially hepatotoxic drugs (e.g., MTX) were used in combination with ACTEMRA.

In one case, a patient who had received ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg monotherapy without elevations in transaminases experienced elevation in AST to above 10x ULN and elevation in ALT to above 16x ULN when MTX was initiated in combination with ACTEMRA. Transaminases normalized when both treatments were held, but elevations recurred when MTX and ACTEMRA were restarted at lower doses. Elevations resolved when MTX and ACTEMRA were discontinued.

  • It is not recommended to initiate ACTEMRA treatment in patients with elevated transaminases ALT or AST greater than 1.5x ULN. In patients who develop elevated ALT or AST greater than 5x ULN treatment is not recommended.
  • Monitor ALT and AST levels 4 to 8 weeks after start of therapy and every 3 months thereafter. When clinically indicated, other liver function tests such as bilirubin should be considered. For recommended modifications based on transaminases see.

Lipid Abnormalities

Treatment with ACTEMRA was associated with increases in lipid parameters such as total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and/or HDL cholesterol.

  • Assess lipid parameters approximately 4 to 8 weeks following initiation of ACTEMRA therapy, then at approximately 24 week intervals.
  • Manage patients according to clinical guidelines [e.g., National Cholesterol Educational Program (NCEP)] for the management of hyperlipidemia.
Polyarticular and Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

A similar pattern of liver enzyme elevation, low neutrophil count, low platelet count and lipid elevations is noted with ACTEMRA treatment in the PJIA and SJIA populations. Monitor neutrophils, platelets, ALT and AST at the time of the second infusion and thereafter every 4 to 8 weeks for PJIA and every 2 to 4 weeks for SJIA. Monitor lipids as above for RA.

Immunosuppression

The impact of treatment with ACTEMRA on the development of malignancies is not known but malignancies were observed in clinical studies. ACTEMRA is an immunosuppressant, and treatment with immunosuppressants may result in an increased risk of malignancies.

Hypersensitivity Reactions, Including Anaphylaxis

Hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis, have been reported in association with ACTEMRA and anaphylactic events with a fatal outcome have been reported with intravenous infusion of ACTEMRA. Anaphylaxis and other hypersensitivity reactions that required treatment discontinuation were reported in 0.1% (3 out of 2644) of patients in the 6-month controlled trials of intravenous ACTEMRA, 0.2% (8 out of 4009) of patients in the intravenous all-exposure RA population, 0.7% (8 out of 1068) in the subcutaneous 6-month controlled RA trials, and in 0.7% (10 out of 1465) of patients in the subcutaneous all-exposure population. In the SJIA controlled trial with intravenous ACTEMRA, 1 out of 112 patients (0.9%) experienced hypersensitivity reactions that required treatment discontinuation. In the PJIA controlled trial with intravenous ACTEMRA, 0 out of 188 patients (0%) in the ACTEMRA all-exposure population experienced hypersensitivity reactions that required treatment discontinuation. Reactions that required treatment discontinuation included generalized erythema, rash, and uticaria. Injection site reactions were categorized separately.

In the postmarketing setting, events of hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis and death have occurred in patients treated with a range of doses of intravenous ACTEMRA, with or without concomitant arthritis therapies. Events have occurred in patients who received premedication. Hypersensitivity, including anaphylaxis events, have occurred both with and without previous hypersensitivity reactions and as early as the first infusion of ACTEMRA. ACTEMRA for intravenous use should only be infused by a healthcare professional with appropriate medical support to manage anaphylaxis. For ACTEMRA subcutaneous injection, advise patients to seek immediate medical attention if they experience any symptoms of a hypersensitivity reaction. If anaphylaxis or other hypersensitivity reaction occurs, stop administration of ACTEMRA immediately and discontinue ACTEMRA permanently. Do not administer ACTEMRA to patients with known hypersensitivity to ACTEMRA.

Demyelinating Disorders

The impact of treatment with ACTEMRA on demyelinating disorders is not known, but multiple sclerosis and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy were reported rarely in RA clinical studies. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms potentially indicative of demyelinating disorders. Prescribers should exercise caution in considering the use of ACTEMRA in patients with preexisting or recent onset demyelinating disorders.

Active Hepatic Disease and Hepatic Impairment

Treatment with ACTEMRA is not recommended in patients with active hepatic disease or hepatic impairment.

Vaccinations

Avoid use of live vaccines concurrently with ACTEMRA as clinical safety has not been established. No data are available on the secondary transmission of infection from persons receiving live vaccines to patients receiving ACTEMRA.

No data are available on the effectiveness of vaccination in patients receiving ACTEMRA. Because IL-6 inhibition may interfere with the normal immune response to new antigens, it is recommended that all patients, particularly PJIA and SJIA patients, if possible, be brought up to date with all immunizations in agreement with current immunization guidelines prior to initiating ACTEMRA therapy. The interval between live vaccinations and initiation of ACTEMRA therapy should be in accordance with current vaccination guidelines regarding immunosuppressive agents.

Patient Counseling Information

Patient Counseling

Advise patients and parents or guardians of minors with PJIA or SJIA of the potential benefits and risks of ACTEMRA. Physicians should instruct their patients to read the Medication Guide before starting ACTEMRA therapy.

  • Infections
    Inform patients that ACTEMRA may lower their resistance to infections. Instruct the patient of the importance of contacting their doctor immediately when symptoms suggesting infection appear in order to assure rapid evaluation and appropriate treatment.
  • Gastrointestinal Perforation
    Inform patients that some patients who have been treated with ACTEMRA have had serious side effects in the stomach and intestines. Instruct the patient of the importance of contacting their doctor immediately when symptoms of severe, persistent abdominal pain appear to assure rapid evaluation and appropriate treatment.
  • Hypersensitivity and Serious Allergic Reactions
    Assess patient suitability for home use for SC injection. Inform patients that some patients who have been treated with ACTEMRA have developed serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Advise patients to seek immediate medical attention if they experience any symptom of serious allergic reactions.
Instruction on Injection Technique

Perform the first injection under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. If a patient or caregiver is to administer subcutaneous ACTEMRA, instruct him/her in injection techniques and assess his/her ability to inject subcutaneously to ensure proper administration of subcutaneous ACTEMRA and the suitability for home use.

Prior to use, remove the prefilled syringe from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature outside of the carton for 30 minutes, out of the reach of children. Do not warm ACTEMRA in any other way.

Advise patients to consult their healthcare provider if the full dose is not received.

A puncture-resistant container for disposal of needles and syringes should be used and should be kept out of the reach of children. Instruct patients or caregivers in the technique as well as proper syringe and needle disposal, and caution against reuse of these items.

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

Carcinogenesis

No long-term animal studies have been performed to establish the carcinogenicity potential of tocilizumab.

Impairment of Fertility

Fertility studies conducted in male and female mice using a murine analogue of tocilizumab administered by the intravenous route at a dose of 50 mg/kg every three days showed no impairment of fertility.

Use In Specific Populations

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category C.

Pregnancy Exposure Registry

There is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to ACTEMRA during pregnancy. Physicians are encouraged to register patients and pregnant women are encouraged to register themselves by calling 1-877-311-8972.

Risk Summary

Adequate and well-controlled studies with ACTEMRA have not been conducted in pregnant women. In animal reproduction studies, administration of tocilizumab to cynomolgus monkeys during organogenesis caused abortion/embryo-fetal death at dose exposures 1.25 times the human dose exposure of 8 mg per kg every 2 to 4 weeks. The incidence of malformations and pregnancy loss in human pregnancies has not been established for ACTEMRA. However, all pregnancies, regardless of drug exposure, have a background rate of 2 to 4% for major malformations, and 15 to 20% for pregnancy loss. ACTEMRA should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Clinical Considerations

In general, monoclonal antibodies are transported across the placenta in a linear fashion as pregnancy progresses, with the largest amount transferred during the third trimester.

Animal Data

An embryo-fetal developmental toxicity study was performed in which pregnant cynomolgus monkeys were treated intravenously with tocilizumab (daily doses of 2, 10, or 50 mg per kg from gestation day 20-50) during organogenesis. Although there was no evidence for a teratogenic/dysmorphogenic effect at any dose, tocilizumab produced an increase in the incidence of abortion/embryo-fetal death at 10 mg per kg and 50 mg per kg doses (1.25 and 6.25 times the human dose of 8 mg per kg every 2 to 4 weeks based on a mg per kg comparison). Testing of a murine analogue of tocilizumab in mice did not yield any evidence of harm to offspring during the pre- and postnatal development phase when dosed at 50 mg per kg intravenously with treatment every three days from implantation until day 21 after delivery (weaning). There was no evidence for any functional impairment of the development and behavior, learning ability, immune competence and fertility of the offspring.

Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether tocilizumab is present in human milk or if it would be absorbed systemically in a breastfed infant after ingestion. IgG is excreted in human milk and therefore it is expected that tocilizumab could be present in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from ACTEMRA, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Pediatric Use

ACTEMRA by intravenous use is indicated for the treatment of pediatric patients with:

  • Active systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis in patients 2 years of age and older
  • Active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis in patients 2 years of age and older

Safety and effectiveness of ACTEMRA in pediatric patients with conditions other than PJIA or SJIA have not been established. Children under the age of two have not been studied. SC administration has not been studied in pediatric patients. Testing of a murine analogue of tocilizumab did not exert toxicity in juvenile mice. In particular, there was no impairment of skeletal growth, immune function and sexual maturation.

Geriatric Use

Of the 2644 patients who received ACTEMRA in Studies I to V, a total of 435 rheumatoid arthritis patients were 65 years of age and older, including 50 patients 75 years and older. Of the 1069 patients who received ACTEMRA-SC in studies SC-I and SC-II there were 295 patients 65 years of age and older, including 41 patients 75 years and older. The frequency of serious infection among ACTEMRA treated subjects 65 years of age and older was higher than those under the age of 65. As there is a higher incidence of infections in the elderly population in general, caution should be used when treating the elderly.

Hepatic Impairment

The safety and efficacy of ACTEMRA have not been studied in patients with hepatic impairment, including patients with positive HBV and HCV serology.

Renal Impairment

No dose adjustment is required in patients with mild renal impairment. ACTEMRA has not been studied in patients with moderate to severe renal impairment.

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

OVERDOSE

There are limited data available on overdoses with ACTEMRA. One case of accidental overdose was reported with intravenous ACTEMRA in which a patient with multiple myeloma received a dose of 40 mg per kg. No adverse drug reactions were observed. No serious adverse drug reactions were observed in healthy volunteers who received single doses of up to 28 mg per kg, although all 5 patients at the highest dose of 28 mg per kg developed dose-limiting neutropenia.

In case of an overdose, it is recommended that the patient be monitored for signs and symptoms of adverse reactions. Patients who develop adverse reactions should receive appropriate symptomatic treatment.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

ACTEMRA is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to ACTEMRA.

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