Actemra Drug Interactions
General Drug Interactions With Actemra
Most medications are metabolized (broken down) in the body by enzymes in the liver known as CYP enzymes. Actemra may indirectly stimulate these CYP enzymes. Actemra works by binding to a specific set of receptors known as interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptors in the body. This action prevents the interleukin-6 (which is a natural inflammatory protein) from binding to the receptor, thereby reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Because IL-6 naturally suppresses CYP enzymes, Actemra may indirectly stimulate the CYP enzymes by blocking IL-6. This may cause the body to metabolize drugs more quickly.
For many medications, this change is probably insignificant. However, some medications are very sensitive to small changes. For instance, small changes in the way the body metabolizes warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®) can cause dangerous changes, such as an increased risk of bleeding or of blood clots.
Therefore, if you take a medication that requires frequent monitoring (warfarin), that is particularly toxic (such as many arrhythmia medications), or has actions that are very important to you (such as birth control pills), you should discuss this with your healthcare provider before taking Actemra.
If you are taking a drug that could potentially interact with Actemra in a serious way, your healthcare provider may have several options for you. Perhaps frequent monitoring is all that is necessary. Or perhaps your healthcare provider may suggest a medication change. In the most serious of situations, perhaps Actemra should be avoided.