How Much Does Actemra Cost?

Written by: Staff

Actemra, a monoclonal antibody, is a prescription-based drug used to help treat cytokine release syndrome, giant cell arteritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

How much does Actemra cost?

The cost of Actemra, as with most prescriptions, greatly depend on the dosage, your health insurance plan and the pharmacy you choose.  Without any health insurance coverage, the reported costs found online ranged anywhere from $1,300 for three vials of 4 milliliters of 20mg/ml to as much as $6,300+ for three vials of 20 milliliters of 20 mg/ml without any health insurance coverage.

Refer to our table below for the average costs reported for each dosage…

DosageReported Costs (without insurance)
3 vials of 4ml of 20mg/ml$1,300
3 vials of 10ml of 20mg/ml$3,300
3 vials of 30ml of 20mg/ml$6,300

As with health insurance coverage, the answers seemed to be mixed as some patients note their insurance policy covered the medication while others noted they had trouble with coverage., for instance, claims that only 46 percent of Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans cover this drug, making it a “toss-up.”  The same can be said about private insurance carriers as well, but if you are covered, the average co-pay can range from $95 to $2,300+ for the databases we did source online.

This medical study, for instance, says the annual costs, depending on the dosage, can range from $8,000 to more than $18,400 per year.

How to save on Actemra

Actemra coupon:  The official manufacturer of the drug, Genentech, offers the Genentech Rheumatology Co-Pay Card, a prepaid card which can help you save up to $15,000 to use toward your medication over the next 12 months, but you will still be responsible for the $5 co-pay.  According to the eligibility requirements, the program is only available to commercially insured patients and will expire 12 months once enrolled.  To see if you do qualify, follow this official link, fill out the form and see if you qualify for the card.

Genentech assistance program:  If you do not qualify for the Actemra coupon, don’t fret as you can see if you qualify for the official company’s assistance program.  Designed for those with limited incomes and no health insurance, the program can help pay for all of your prescriptions if you qualify.  To learn more about the Genentech Access Solutions

Patient assistance programs:  Aside from the typical federal and state assistance programs, there are plenty of non-profit organizations out there that want to help you with specific medications, including Actemra.  The PAN Foundation, for instance, offer assistance for this particular drug for patients who meet qualification requirements.  To qualify, for instance, patients will have to have insurance, a valid prescription and must be diagnosed with a specific disease to qualify.

Actemra overview

The Actemra injection, in correlation with other medicines as prescribed by your doctor, will help reduce the signs and symptoms often associated with rheumatoid arthritis and will also help keep the joint damage from worsening in the future.  Depending on your condition and circumstances, your doctor, as specified, may either prescribe it alone or with other medications.

Before you are sent home with your prescription, your doctor or nurse will show you how the injections work and are available in two forms:  either a prefilled syringe or glass container vial.  Placed into one of your veins, the injection can also be injected under your skin, often in the front of the thigh or abdomen, but regardless, if you’re sent home, it’s so important to follow your doctor’s orders specifically, meaning you should not take more, less or stop without consulting with your doctor first.  For any questions, always refer to the medication guide and/or doctor’s office for detailed instructions.

Dosing will greatly vary on the patient and the reason for the injection, with most adults administering one 162 milligram dosage per week or every other week if the patient weighs less than 220 pounds.  Again, depending on your circumstances, your doctor may increase your dosages to see how well you respond to treatment.

Actemra side effects

Side effects can include irritation, redness or pain at the injection site and other less-than-common side effects may include stomach/abdomen pain, a serious allergic reaction, severe dizziness or trouble breathing.  This is not a full list of the side effects; for a list, refer to this FDA list.  As always, if you experience any side effects you are not comfortable with, talk with your doctor immediately.

What is Actemra?

According to the company, Actemra was the first RA treatment which directly blocked the action of the protein in your body known as interleukin-6, a protein that’s believed to play a part in rheumatoid arthritis.  With Actemra, it will block these proteins from connecting to the cells, helping reduce the signs and symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.  Widely studied in clinical trials, you can read on how well it worked for others.  For instance, one specific study noted that 70 percent of people getting infusions achieved an ACR20 response after six months, which means they saw a 20 percent improvement in their swollen and tender joints and other related rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

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