Defective Drug Lawyers Helping People Throughout North and South Carolina
Prescription medications are supposed to help, rather than hurt, the people to whom they are prescribed. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. As "Big Pharma" continues to grow, even going so far as to engage in direct-to-consumer advertising to increase revenue, more and more potentially dangerous drugs are being approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and released into the marketplace.
The drug Actemra (also known as "tocilizumab") has recently gained attention as a drug that may cause more problems than it solves for some patients. Patients taking Actemra may have been led to believe that the medication did not significantly increase the risk of life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, lung disease, pancreatitis, or other dangerous side effects. However, recent studies and complaints received by the FDA show that Actemra does increase the risk of patients contracting many dangerous conditions, which the manufacturer was aware of yet failed to notify the public.
Anyone who has suffered a severe side effect after using Actemra may be eligible for compensation and should consult an Actemra lawyer before the statute of limitations bars any chance of recovery. At Grimes Teich Anderson, our North Carolina and South Carolina dangerous drug lawyers are experienced in helping consumers seek fair compensation for negative side effects caused by this drug.
What is Actemra?
Created by Roche (a Genentech subsidiary), Actemra received FDA approval in 2010 primarily to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is an autoimmune disease that causes stiffness in joints, pain, and swelling and affects more than 1.3 million Americans. When Actemra was first approved, many doctors and patients were excited because Genentech promoted the drug as a breakthrough medication that didn't carry a lot of the risks of other rheumatoid arthritis drugs in early testing.
What Are the Alleged Dangers of Using Actemra?
While the makers of Actemra have warned consumers of some of the potential side effects of the drug, allegations have recently been made to the effect that there may be other, previously non-disclosed problems for people who take the medicine. Over 500,000 complaints of side-effect reports have allegedly been made to the FDA, including more than 1,100 instances in which a patient taking Actemra died. STAT investigators found that the risks of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and other conditions were higher for patients taking Actemra than for patients taking competing drugs. FDA complaints show that Actemra drugmaker Roche failed to provide adequate warning labels. Unlike other competing rheumatoid arthritis drugs, Actemra's warning label does not warn against life-threatening conditions. Experts who examined the STAT data said the FDA should immediately consider adding warnings of the risk of heart failure and pancreatitis to the label. However, neither the FDA or the manufacturer has updated labels to inform patients of these serious health risks.
Common Actemra Side-Effects and Possible Complications
Based on early testing, drugmakers believed that Actemra did not have many competing drugs' side effects. Since then, however, there have been thousands of reports to the FDA of people experiencing a variety of Actemra side-effects, some of which are immediately apparent and others that develop over time, including:
- Upper respiratory infections
- Increased blood pressure
- Higher cholesterol
- Low white blood cells
- Low platelets
- Increased liver enzymes
- Injection site reaction
- Gastrointestinal perforation when taken with an NSAID anti-inflammatory or with corticosteroids or methotrexate
Actemra also reduces the body's ability to fight infection, making patients more susceptible to infections. Some of which include:
- Invasive fungal infections
- Opportunistic bacterial infections, viruses, and microorganisms
- Activation of latent tuberculosis
- Reactivation of Herpes Zoster, Hepatitis B, or other viruses
- Increased likelihood of common colds and flu
Anyone who has taken Actemra is urged to speak to an Actemra attorney if they have experienced serious side effects, particularly heart attack, stroke, or lung disease. People who have lost a loved one who took Actemra are also advised to seek counsel as soon as possible.
I Currently Use Actemra, Or Have In The Past - What Should I Do?
If you have used Actemra and developed any of the side effects described above, or a loved one has died due to the drug, we would like to hear from you. Plaintiffs who can prove that they or their loved ones suffered physical harm or death due to Actemra may be entitled to substantial monetary damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses via a product liability lawsuit. However, it is important to note that these claims are subject to a statute of limitations and a statute of repose, both of which limit the time for filing a compensation claim. Thus, it is essential to consult a lawyer as soon as possible if you or a loved one may have been harmed by Actemra.
Speak to an Experienced North Carolina or South Carolina Actemra Attorney
There may be multiple legal theories (failure to warn, strict liability, negligence, etc.) and potentially several different defendants in a product liability lawsuit arising from a dangerous drug or other product. Expert testimony often factors heavily into such cases, with both the plaintiff and the defendant (or its insurance company) presenting evidence regarding the drug's safety in question. The litigation can be complicated and fiercely contested. This is why representation from an experienced trial law firm is necessary.
While not every law firm is up to the task of representing clients in such cases, Grimes Teich Anderson has the national connections needed to handle many product liability claims successfully both in North Carolina and South Carolina.* Call us today at 800-533-6845 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation.