What is tocilizumab, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Tocilizumab is an injectable synthetic (man-made)
protein that binds to interleukin-6 (IL-6) in the body and blocks the effects of
IL-6 in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation is the body’s reaction
to injury and is a necessary process for the repair of injury. IL-6 is a protein
that the body produces when there is inflammation. IL-6 promotes inflammation
and the signs of inflammation, which, in the case of arthritis, includes fever
as well as pain, tenderness, and swelling of the joints. The unchecked
inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis eventually leads to destruction of the
joints. Tocilizumab binds to IL-6 in the body and thereby blocks the effects of
IL-6. As a result, inflammation and its consequences in the joints are reduced,
and the progressive destruction of the joints is slowed or prevented. The FDA
approved tocilizumab in January 2010.

What brand names are available for tocilizumab?


Is tocilizumab available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for tocilizumab?


What are the side effects of tocilizumab?

The most common adverse effects of tocilizumab in clinical studies were:

Injection site reactions (rash, redness, swelling, itching) may also occur. Use of tocilizumab has been associated with serious infections such as: 

Individuals with active infections should not be treated with tocilizumab. Tocilizumab may worsen or cause new diseases of the nervous system. In studies, some patients who used tocilizumab developed cancer. Other side effects include:

In studies, gastrointestinal perforation was observed in patients with diverticulitis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/16/2017

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