Table of contents:
- Clinical Trial Results of Actemra for COVID-19
- Criteria for Actemra Drug Recipient Patients for COVID-19
- Actemra Drug Use Warning for COVID-19
The emergency use of authorization (EUA) for Actemra for COVID-19 has been approved since June 2021. However, it is important to understand that not all COVID-19 patients need to receive Actemra
Actemra (tocilizumab) is an injectable immunosuppressive drug used to reduce inflammation in several diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and interstitial lung disease. This drug can also be used in cancer and COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms.
In the case of COVID-19 disease, some patients may experience an excessive immune response due to exposure to the Corona virus. This condition, called a cytokine storm, can cause the lungs to become inflamed and unable to work properly. Cytokine storms usually occur in severely symptomatic or critically ill COVID-19 patients.
D-dimer and CRP examination in COVID-19 patients who experience an increase can be one of the markers of inflammation. Severe inflammation in the body due to cytokine storms can interfere with the performance of various organs of the body. Without proper treatment, this condition can even lead to a high risk of death.
To deal with this, the doctor can give several types of drugs. One of the drugs currently widely used to treat severe COVID-19 with a cytokine storm is Actemra.
Clinical Trial Results of Actemra for COVID-19
Various research and clinical trials so far have shown that the use of the drug Actemra in COVID-19 patients, especially those with severe symptoms, is considered beneficial for reducing inflammation and damage to the lungs and other organs.
In addition, this drug can also help speed up the healing process of severe COVID-19 symptoms and prevent severe COVID-19 complications, such as respiratory failure and hypoxia.
Therefore, the Indonesian Association of Internal Medicine Specialists (PAPDI) recommends the administration of the drug Actemra for COVID-19 accompanied by severe symptoms and severe inflammation. This drug can also be given at the same time as corticosteroids.
However, the handling of severe COVID-19 symptoms cannot be treated with Actemra alone, but requires other medicines, such as the antiviral drugs remdesivir or favipirapir, infusion therapy, and breathing assistance to increase oxygen, for example with a ventilator.
Criteria for Actemra Drug Recipient Patients for COVID-19
It is important to remember that Actemra cannot be used by all COVID-19 patients, especially COVID-19 patients with mild or no symptoms.
In addition, there are several criteria for patients who may receive Actemra medicine for COVID-19, namely:
- Undergoing treatment in a hospital, either in a regular inpatient room or an intensive care unit (ICU)
- Over 2 years old
- Requires additional oxygen through a breathing apparatus, such as a ventilator
- No history of allergy to this drug
It should also be noted that the Actemra drug is not recommended for use in outpatients for COVID-19, especially to prevent COVID-19.
Actemra Drug Use Warning for COVID-19
Although it has been declared safe and beneficial for COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms, the use of Actemra still carries a risk of side effects that need to be watched out for, namely:
- The body's immune system is weakened, so it can increase the risk of secondary infections, such as bacterial, fungal, or other viral infections
- Liver function disorders, especially in patients with liver disease, such as hepatitis
- The risk of drug allergy, eg anaphylaxis. However, these side effects are relatively rare
- Other side effects include indigestion, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, increased blood pressure, and skin rashes
That is why, the use of Actemra medicine for COVID-19 or other diseases should not be arbitrary and must be under the supervision of a doctor.
The presence of the Actemra drug for COVID-19 is one form of effort to increase the success of COVID-19 treatment, especially in cases of severe COVID-19 symptoms.
However, prevention of COVID-19 is still more important. So that you and your family avoid infection with the Corona virus, get the COVID-19 vaccine according to government recommendations and always apply he alth protocols, namely maintaining physical distance, washing hands regularly, wearing masks, and avoiding crowds.
If you still have questions about COVID-19, both regarding treatment and prevention, you can chat directly with the doctor on the ALODOKTER application. In this application, you can also make an appointment with a doctor at the hospital if you really need an in-person examination.