The pharmaceutical company, Roche, has reported a global shortage of RoActemra (tocilizumab), due to an increase in demand which outweighs current production capabilities.

The company has advised that it expects to be in supply shortage for Ireland as follows:

  • Intermittent temporary shortage of the RoActemra pre-filled syringe or pen (for injection under the skin (subcutaneous injection)) is expected during the month of September 2021
  • A shortage of the RoActemra infusion (given by drip into a vein) is expected from 2 September until December 2021

Stopping treatment with RoActemra could lead to worsening of your symptoms (disease flare-up). Your doctor will assess your overall disease condition and potential risk of flare-up and consider a treatment alternative if RoActemra is not available.

If you use RoActemra pre-filled syringes or pens, let your doctor know how many you have left.

Depending on the use, your doctor may switch your treatment to either the pre-filled pen/syringe or the concentrate for solution for infusion, chose another medicine or increase the dose of a medicine you are already taking.

In some circumstances you may have to attend the hospital to receive alternative treatment.

Arthritis Ireland and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) are in regular contact with Roche concerning the restoration of supply to patients in Ireland.