Roche’s arthritis drug may be associated with hundreds of patient deaths, STAT finds

Actemra first hit the U.S. market in 2010 as Roche’s breakthrough treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, which affects approximately 1.5 million people. The medication wasn’t associated with heart attacks, heart failure or life-threatening lung complications like other arthritis medications. However a recent STAT investigation found hundreds of patients taking Actemra have died of such conditions.

For the investigation, STAT analyzed more than 500,000 side-effect reports involving rheumatoid arthritis drugs. The analysis revealed patients taking Actemra had just as high a risk of experiencing a heart attack, stroke and heart failure, among other conditions, as patients taking competing drugs. While most medications warn about these potential side effects, Actemra does not.


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