Based on my short experience of this latest biological drug, I'd like to share a few facts with you all and for some at least provide a little hope.
RoActemra works in a different way from the other anti TNF biologicals by targeting/blocking a protein called IL-6 (Interleuken 6) which is heavily involved in the inflammatory process.
It also works without Methotrexate and is therefore useful for all those who can't take this powerful chemical. So all those who don't respond to anti TNFs or Methotrexate don't despair.
For me Tocilizumab is a miracle come true. In just under a month there is no trace of my RA except maybe a bit of left over flare damage which is not a problem. My inflammation markers ESR and CRP are 2 and < 1 respectively. I have very little pain, no stiffness and no swelling.
Further good news is that an injectable sub cutaneous option is soon available.
I am currently part of a trial to monitor MTX tapering v not and this is all paid for by Roche but after this finishes will still get this expensive drug free on the NHS now NICE has approved it.
Anyone who satisfies the criteria can now qualify for this brilliant new medication. If you haven't heard of Toc before please discuss this among yourselves and with your rheumy if you're in distress and feeling at the end of the road. There may be light at the end of the tunnel for you yet my friends. Never give up.