Compare Rituxan vs. Actemra

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Rituxan
(rituximab)

Actimmune
(tocilizumab)

Calms down your immune system. Rituxan (Rituximab) is effective for treating multiple types of cancer and arthritis. That said, you'll need to watch for possibly serious side effects, especially infusion reactions.Calms down the immune system and helps prevent joint damage. Actimmune (tocilizumab) effectively relieves pain and prevents joint damage. You can get it as a shot or an infusion, but it may not be the best choice if you have liver problems.
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Coupons for Rituxan
Best available price for 10 (10ml of 10mg/ml) vials of rituximab
Coupons for Actemra
Best available price for 20 (10ml of 20mg/ml) vials of actemra
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Rituxan (rituximab)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

Not enough reviews for this treatment. Help someone out, leave a review!

Have you used Actimmune (tocilizumab)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
RituxanActemra
  • Fever 60%
  • Lung disorder 31%
  • Cardiac disorder 28%
  • Chills 13%
  • Any infection 62%
  • Infusion reaction 12%
  • Any serious infection 11%
  • Cardiac side effect 1%
  • Tested positive for haca 23%
More Rituxan side effects »
  • Headache 3%
  • High blood pressure 1%
  • Bronchitis (airway inflammation) 1%
  • Rash 3%
  • Alt increase (liver test change) 2%
  • Upper abdominal pain 1%
  • Mouth sores 1%
More Actemra side effects »
How it works
RituxanActemra
Rituxan (Rituximab) is a monoclonal antibody. It targets a specific protein on white blood cells that makes it easier for your immune system to find and destroy cancerous cells. It also relieves symptoms and slows the progression of Rheumatoid Arthritis.Actimmune (tocilizumab) is a biologic drug. It belongs to a group of drugs called DMARDs (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug). Actimmune (tocilizumab) stops IL-6 (interleukin-6), a protein that revs up the immune system, from working. Actimmune (tocilizumab) lowers inflammation, relieves symptoms, and prevents the disease from getting worse.
Type of medication
RituxanActemra
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
RituxanActemra
  • Infusion (iv)
  • Infusion
  • Injection
Used for
RituxanActemra
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis Moderate To Severe
Risk factors for serious side effects
RituxanActemra
  • Taking other immunosuppressant drugs
  • Age 60 or older
  • Weak immune system
  • Taking Rituxan (Rituximab) with immunosuppressant drugs (if using for RA)
  • Taking Rituxan (Rituximab) with chemotherapy (if using for NHL or CLL
Detailed Rituxan (rituximab) risks & warnings »
  • Diabetes, HIV, or other medical conditions that cause a weak immune system
  • Taking other immunosuppressant medications
  • Had TB or were exposed to TB in the past
  • History of diverticulitis
Detailed Actimmune (tocilizumab) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Kidneys and liver
RituxanActemra
  • Discuss with your doctor the serious heart, kidney, liver, or stomach problems that can happen while on Rituxan (Rituximab).
  • This drug may not be the best choice if you have liver problems.
Pain
RituxanActemra
No pain related info.
  • Actimmune (tocilizumab) makes it harder for your immune system to fight infections. It increases the risk of serious or life-threatening infections, including TB (tuberculosis). Let your doctor know if you have a fever, cough, red or painful skin sores, stomach pain, or pain when you urinate. You'll need to have a TB (tuberculosis) test before starting Actimmune (tocilizumab).
  • In studies, Actimmune (tocilizumab) lowered joint pain and slowed down joint damage better than a placebo in people who didn't have earlier success with methotrexate.
Upsides and benefits
RituxanActemra
  • Treats leukemia, lymphoma, and blood vessel inflammation.
  • Also treats moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis that hasn't responded to anti-TNF treatment (but you'll need to take methotrexate too).
  • The chance of having a reaction to the infusion is highest during your first dose, but the risk decreases each time you get Rituxan (Rituximab). It usually happens within 30 minutes to 2 hours after starting the infusion.
  • Rituxan (Rituximab) is a targeted therapy that works differently than chemotherapy. Both work well when they're taken together, especially when treating CLL and NHL.
  • In studies, Actimmune (tocilizumab) lowered joint pain and slowed down joint damage better than a placebo in people who didn't have earlier success with methotrexate.
  • Actimmune (tocilizumab) can work for you even if methotrexate or other medications haven't improved your rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Many people have only minor side effects, or none at all.
Downsides and risks
RituxanActemra
  • Only your doctor or other trained medical staff can administer Rituxan (Rituximab), so you'll need to go into an office or clinic for every dose.
  • Not the best choice if you have heart problems.
  • Rituxan (Rituximab) can stay in your body for up to 6 months after you complete treatment. Men and women who are able to have children need to use birth control for up to one year after finishing Rituxan (Rituximab).
  • Discuss with your doctor the serious heart, kidney, liver, or stomach problems that can happen while on Rituxan (Rituximab).
  • Since Actimmune (tocilizumab) calms down your immune system, it raises your risk of serious or possibly life-threatening infections, including TB (tuberculosis).
  • Actimmune (tocilizumab) doesn't come in a pill form - it has to be used as an injection or infusion.
  • You'll need to get blood tests done before and during your treatment to make sure no problems arise while taking Actimmune (tocilizumab).
  • This drug may not be the best choice if you have liver problems.
  • There is no generic form of the drug, so it can be expensive.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
RituxanActemra
  • Rituxan (Rituximab) is given as an IV infusion by trained medical staff in a clinic or hospital.
  • You'll need to be monitored in the clinic in case you have a serious or life-threatening reaction during the infusion, but you can take other medications that'll lower your risk of this happening.
  • It's very important that you read the Medication Guide before you start taking Rituxan (Rituximab).
  • Rituxan (Rituximab) lowers your immune system's ability to fight infections, so it's important to let your doctor know if you notice a fever, a cough that doesn't go away, or flu-like symptoms.
  • Use effective birth control while you're taking Rituxan (Rituximab) and for 12 months after you finish treatment.
  • Don't get live vaccines while you're taking Rituxan (Rituximab).
  • It can take between 2 weeks and 3 months to start working.
  • Even after your symptoms begin to improve, it is important to keep taking Actimmune (tocilizumab) to prevent further damage to your joints.
  • Actimmune (tocilizumab) is available as an infusion (given at a doctor's office or an infusion center) or as an injection (given to yourself at home). Discuss which is best for you with your doctor.
  • If you're using Actimmune (tocilizumab) at home, rotate your injection areas to avoid skin reactions. Don't give yourself an injection where your skin is red, bruised, or irritated.
  • Keep Actimmune (tocilizumab) refrigerated, but let it warm up to room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes before using it.
Learn more
More about RituxanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Rituxan (rituximab)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about ActemraSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Actimmune (tocilizumab)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it