Tocilizumab - Additional Information
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Tocilizumab - Additional Information

How LONG does it take for the medicine to be EFFECTIVE?

  • Unlike many standard DMARDs, tocilizumab works relatively quickly.
  • You may notice some relief of joint swelling, pain and stiffness within the first 8 weeks of treatment.

Do I skip dose if I am sick?

  • Seek prompt advice from your doctor when you develop any of the serious symptoms of infection described above.
  • Your doctor will decide whether to stop tocilizumab on a case-by-case basis.

When do I seek medical attention IMMEDIATELY?

  • See your doctor straightaway if you experience any of the following:
    • Serious infections
    • Severe stomach or bowel discomfort
    • Serious skin reactions


  • If you are on tocilizumab it is recommended you should not be immunized with 'live' vaccines such as MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), OPV (oral polio virus), BCG (Bacillus Calmette Guerin) or yellow fever. Talk with your rheumatologist before receiving any vaccines.
  • Tocilizumab can interact with other medicines. You should tell your doctor about all medicines you are taking or plan to take. This includes over-the-counter or herbal medicines.
  • You should also mention your treatment when you see other healthcare professionals.
  • Over-the-counter pain medicines (e.g. paracetamol) can be used while you are receiving tocilizumab treatment provided you take them as directed.


  • Not enough is known regarding the possible side effects of tocilizumanb. If you plan to become pregnant, it is important to discuss this with your doctor
  • You should not breastfeed when taking tocilizumab

In SUMMARY… what you need to know about tocilizumab?

  • While taking tocilizumab you must see your rheumatologist regularly to ensure the treatment is working and minimise any possible side effects.
  • If you stop tocilizumab for any reason you must contact your doctor. Failure to do so may mean that your continued treatment will no longer be subsidized.
  • If you are worried about any side effects, you should contact your rheumatologist as soon as possible.
  • It is important to tell your doctor if you have had cancer or if you develop cancer while you are taking tocilizumab.
  • If you are taking tocilizumab and plan to become pregnant you must discuss the timing with your doctor.
  • If you have further questions about Tocilizumab, please call ______________________ (office number) to discuss with your doctor / pharmacist / specialty nurse (please circle as appropriate).
  • Updated on 6/12/2015 12:00:00 AM
  • Article contributed by Pharmacy, Rheumatology & Immunology Singapore General Hospital
The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth


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