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US FDA okays arthritis drug for treatment of COVID-19 | Health News

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Washington: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the drug Actemra (tocilizumab) — used for arthritis — for the treatment of hospitalised sufferers with COVID-19.

Under the EUA, the drug may be administered solely to hospitalised adults and pediatric sufferers (2 years of age and older), receiving systemic corticosteroids and requiring supplemental oxygen, non-invasive or invasive mechanical air flow, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).

However, Actemra just isn’t authorised for use in outpatients with COVID-19, the FDA mentioned in a press release.

Clinical trials confirmed that administering Actemra to hospitalised COVID-19 sufferers, along with routine care which included corticosteroid remedy, decreased the chance of demise in addition to decreased the quantity of time sufferers remained hospitalised.

The danger of sufferers being positioned on ventilators or demise was additionally decreased.

“Although vaccines have been successful in decreasing the number of patients with COVID-19 who require hospitalisation, providing additional therapies for those who do become hospitalised is an important step in combating this pandemic,” mentioned Patrizia Cavazzoni, MD, Director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Actemra is a monoclonal antibody that reduces irritation and is given by intravenous infusion that’s FDA-approved for a number of inflammatory illnesses, together with rheumatoid arthritis.

In the case of COVID-19 an infection, the immune system can develop into hyperactive, which can lead to worsening of illness. But, Actemra doesn’t instantly goal SARS-COV-2.

Based on the FDA’s assessment of the totality of the scientific proof accessible, the company has decided that it’s affordable to imagine that Actemra could also be efficient in treating COVID-19 for the authorised inhabitants.

The information supporting this EUA for Actemra are based mostly on 4 medical trials. All 4 medical trials contribute to the FDA’s understanding of Actemra for the treatment of COVID-19.

Common unwanted side effects of Actemra noticed within the COVID-19 trials embody constipation, nervousness, diarrhoea, insomnia, hypertension and nausea. The EUA was issued to American biotechnology Genentech, a subsidiary of Swiss multinational healthcare Roche, FDA mentioned.


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