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What should I know before taking tocilizumab?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Your doctor will need to test for tuberculosis before you start treatment.

If you have an active infection, even a localized one, you should not take tocilizumab. If you have had recurrent infections, tocilizumab may not be a good option for you.

The risk of serious infections while taking tocilizumab is greater in older people.

It is not known if tocilizumab is safe or effective for children.

Tocilizumab may cause or worsen demyelinating disease, such as multiple sclerosis and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

If you have diverticulitis or impaired kidney function, tocilizumab may not be a good option for you.

If you have impaired liver function, tocilizumab can lead to side effects and should be avoided.

It is not known if tocilizumab is safe during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, considering pregnancy, or may be pregnant, this drug may not be a good option.

If you are breastfeeding, tocilizumab may not be right for you. It is not known whether tocilizumab is passed into breast milk.

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.