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What can it do?

Welcome to the beta Arthritis Virtual Assistant. At the moment it can give you general information about your condition and medication, and provide you with useful exercises to help manage your arthritis.

Why do we need your help?

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant has been built to learn and improve with every use. That way, whenever you use it, you’re indirectly helping another person get the answers that they need for their arthritis.

What can you ask?

You'll get the best response if your question relates to a single type of arthritis, and is expressed as clearly and simply as possible. For example, "What are the best exercises for osteoarthritis?" or "What are the side effects of methotrexate?"

Are you sure you want to close your conversation?

Your conversation will not be visible the next time you visit the Arthritis Virtual Assistant. If you want to keep a copy of the advice you've been given, you can print it using the button at the top of the chat window.

Arthritis Virtual Assistant

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant is being developed into a brand new type of tool which will help you to get the answers you need for your type of arthritis.

This automated chat service is designed to provide general information about your condition and ways you can manage it. It’s been developed from over 80 years of our research work and also learns from the experiences of its users. It’s a ‘beta’ version which means it’s still learning from you, and others. It uses artificial intelligence to decide which are the best responses to give you and it will improve each time it’s used. The better the information we can provide then the more people we can help to manage their condition too.

The advice in this service isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice so we’d always recommend speaking to your doctor about your treatment. When you use the Arthritis Virtual Assistant, you’ll be asked for your first name and the type of arthritis you have, there’s no need to tell us anything more personal than that.

By using the Arthritis Virtual Assistant you confirm that you understand and accept the terms of use and consent to how we will use the information you provide.

Helpline 0800 5200 520 More information

Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes.
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> > > > What are the possible risks and side-effects of tocilizumab?

What are the possible risks and side-effects of tocilizumab?

The most common side-effects of tocilizumab aren't usually serious. They include:

  • a cough, sore throat, blocked or runny nose
  • headaches or dizziness
  • mouth ulcers
  • conjunctivitis (eye inflammation) 
  • high blood pressure
  • weight gain or swollen ankles
  • skin rashes, infections or itching
  • stomach irritation or abdominal pain
  • inflammation around the drip site.

Tell your doctor or rheumatology nurse straight away if you have a reaction during or after an infusion or injection.

Tocilizumab can sometimes increase cholesterol levels and you may be asked to see your GP for treatment to reduce these levels. It can also affect liver function tests or reduce the numbers of white cells, or sometimes platelets, in your blood. You might sometimes need to miss one or more treatments, but it's rare to have to stop the drug altogether.

If you have intestinal ulcers or diverticulitis you may be at more risk of infection, which can sometimes lead to bowel perforation. Tell your doctor immediately if you develop stomach pain, particularly if you have a temperature and you notice changes in your bowel habits, such as passing blood.

The long-term side-effects of tocilizumab aren't yet fully understood because it's a relatively new drug. There may be a slightly increased risk of certain cancers when using drugs that affect the immune system, though research so far hasn't confirmed this.

Tocilizumab can make you more likely to pick up infections. It can also make them harder to spot. Tell your doctor or rheumatology nurse if you develop a sore throat or fever, have unexplained bruising, bleeding or paleness, or any other new symptoms that concern you. If any of these symptoms are severe, you should stop taking tocilizumab and see your doctor straight away.

You should also see your doctor if you develop chickenpox or shingles or come into contact with someone who has chickenpox or shingles. These illnesses can be severe if you're on tocilizumab. You may need antiviral treatment, and your tocilizumab may need to be stopped until you're better.

Reducing the risk of infection

  • Try to avoid close contact with people with severe active infections.
  • For advice on avoiding infection from food, visit the NHS Choices Food Poisoning website.

Helpline

0800 5200 520

Our new helpline: Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis. Open Mon–Fri 9am–8pm.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes

Virtual Assistant

Our new Arthritis Virtual Assistant uses artificial intelligence to answer your arthritis related questions 24/7.

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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.