Sarilumab is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation in joints of fingers, wrist, feet, ankles) in adults. It helps reduce pain and swelling by reducing inflammation in your joints.
Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you. If you or a caregiver had been given the proper training on the preparation and injection techniques of Sarilumab, you or your caregiver may do the administration.
Use this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not administer more or less than instructed by your doctor.
Sarilumab is available as a single-use pre-filled syringe. Make sure you know how to use the specific device you have been given. If you have problems or do not understand the instructions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
This medicine is to be injected subcutaneously (into the fatty layer under the skin, usually in the thigh, upper arm or abdomen area).
Remember to rotate the injection sites. Do not inject into the same area all the time. New injection sites should be at least 1.5 inches away from the previous injection site. Do not inject at least 2 inches around the navel (belly button), into moles, scars or areas where the skin is tender, damaged, bruised, red, hard or not intact.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the course of your treatment depending on the type and severity of your condition.
If you missed a dose and it has been 3 days or less since then, administer the missed dose as soon as you remember and return to your normal dosing schedule.
If it has been 4 days or more, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to use your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have an active severe infections, as Sarilumab may not be suitable for you.
Do not use this medicine with live vaccines and other medicines to treat rheumatoid arthritis, such as anakinra, etanercept, and rituximab.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- current or recurring infections
- current or a history of TB
- liver disease
- stomach or bowel problems which may increase the risk of getting a tear in the stomach
- weakened immune system
Do not use Sarilumab if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby soon. If you become pregnant while being treated with this medicine, alert your doctor immediately. Sarilumab may cause harm to your unborn child. You must use proven birth control methods while taking this medicine and up to 3 months after treatment.
Let your doctor know if you are breastfeeding.
Inform your doctor if you have been recently vaccinated. Do not receive any vaccinations without first asking your doctor.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- You may need to have routine blood tests (e.g. neutrophil and platelet count, liver function test, lipid profile) while you are being treated with Sarilumab. Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have these tests.
- Your doctor may periodically conduct a test for TB and other infections while you are being treated with this medicine.
Sarilumab may cause any of the following side effects: cold sores, common cold, sore throat, upper airway infection, bladder infection, unusual bleeding or bruising, itching and redness at the site of injection.
Sarilumab will cause the level of your white blood cells and platelets to drop.
White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Alert your doctor if you have a fever, or a cough or flu that does not go away.
Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Alert your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience fever, chills, or mouth sore. These could be signs of serious infection.
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Avoid vaccinations during treatment with Sarilumab. Alert your doctor if you have been recently vaccinated.
Do not use Sarilumab with other medicines to treat rheumatoid arthritis that are produced from biological sources e.g. anakinra, etanercept, and rituximab.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- theophylline (asthma medicine)
- warfarin (blood-thinning medicine)
- cholesterol-lowering medicines e.g. atorvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin
- medicines for pain and inflammation e.g. indometacin, aspirin, dexamethasone
- birth control pills
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Sarilumab.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in the refrigerator, between 2-8 °C, away from the reach of children.
Do not use this medicine if it becomes cloudy or if it has changed in colour. Do not freeze.
Keep in the original packaging to protect from light.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.