Patients who have rheumatoid arthritis may take tocilizumab in conjunction with other medications or by itself. This medication helps lower inflammation, pain, soreness and stiffness related to arthritis. It works by blocking the effects of a substance in the body that contributes to inflammation.
This medication interferes with normal immune system functioning. Patients who are on the medication may get serious infections that can lead to hospitalization or death. Patients on this medication are particularly susceptible to tuberculosis and hepatitis B infections if they are carriers of these diseases. Patients must be tested for these diseases and take medication if necessary to eliminate them before they begin taking tocilizumab.