More patients are receiving the rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra despite concerns about the product’s safety and side effects, according to a new BioTrends report.

According to the report, higher numbers of rheumatologists have tried the drug after three months post-launch, compared to one month post-launch and the number of RA patients who received Actemra per prescriber has almost doubled.

The Roche-Genentech marketed drug is the first IL-6 receptor inhibitor agent approved for rheumatoid arthritis and has been shown to work where other biologics have failed.

Concerns about safety and side effects, however, is considered to be the greatest disadvantage of Actemra with specific concern about hepatotoxicity.

This report is the second in a three-wave series conducted through on-line survey responses from 80 rheumatologists and qualitative interviews with 20 rheumatologists.