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How do I take tocilizumab and how long does it take to work?

Tocilizumab may be given:

  • either through a drip into a vein (intravenous infusion) which takes about an hour once every four weeks
  • or as an injection under the skin (subcutaneous injection) once a week using a pre-filled syringe. You, your partner or another family member can learn to give these injections at home.

If you're already having infusions and wish to switch to injections you should speak to your rheumatology team. You'll probably start your injections when your next infusion is due.

If tocilizumab works for you, your symptoms should start to improve in 2–12 weeks. Because it's a long-term treatment it's important to keep taking tocilizumab (unless you have severe side-effects):

  • even if it doesn't seem to be working at first
  • even when your symptoms improve (as this will help keep the disease under control).

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