Last week this drug was approved by NICE for use first line along with the TNF inhibitors adalimumab, etanercept, infliximab, certolizumab pegol and golimumab for patients with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis resistant to conventional treatment with 2 or more DMARDs (Disease Modifiying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs). Tocilizumab was previously only available if TNF inhibitor treatments had failed and patients were unable to take rituximab or rituximab had also failed.
Tocilizumab is given as an intravenous infusion, once per month. If you are eligible, your rheumatologist will discuss the options for biological therapy with you. Most TNF inhibitors are self-administered by patients at home by subcutaneous injection.
Infliximab, Tocilizumab and Rituximab are given by intravenous infusion, administered in hospital. If you are prescribed one of these biological therapies, you will need to attend hospital once per month to receive your medication.
For further information please see the following: Tocilizumab to be used earlier in the treatment of RA