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Diseases and Conditions Self-Injection Videos

How to inject Actemra and Kevzara

October 24, 2017
How to inject Actemra and Kevzara

In this week’s edition of RheumDoctor, Dr. Farrell will teach how to inject Actemra and Kevzara in the comfort of your home.  Both of these medications work by blocking interleukin-6, a cytokine involved in inflammation.  Kevzara, also known as sarilumab, recently obtained FDA approval for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Actemra, also known as tocilizumab, is also prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis but also recently obtained FDA approval for the treatment of giant cell arteritis.  Without further adieu…

Preparing for your injection

  • Keep your medication stored in the refrigerator until use
    • Before injecting medication, take the prefilled syringe out of the refrigerator.
    • Allow it to warm up to room temperature.
  • Pick a place in your house that is clean and has room for your materials (such as the kitchen table).
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with either:
    • Soap & water
    • Hand sanitizer
  • Chose an area to inject – Thigh or Stomach.
    • Chose an area that is intact and clear.
    • It should not have any of the following:
      • Cuts
      • Scrapes
      • Bruises
      • Psoriasis patches
      • If you have extensive psoriasis, inject between patches
      • Moles
      • Scars
    • Please rotate area each time you inject (shown in picture below).

Areas to inject subcutaneous medication

  • Cleanse chosen area
    • Cleanse chosen area with either of the following:
      • Alcohol swab
      • Alcohol and a cotton ball
    • Use the chosen alcohol material to “swipe” area
      • Can either use a circular motion or wipe in “strips”
      • Allow the area to dry

Injecting Actemra or Kevzara with a prefilled syringe

  • Pull off the cap and observe the syringe.
  • Pinch the skin around the injection site and enter at a 45-degree angle
  • Press the plunger (slowly) to administer the medication
  • Once the medication is fully administered, the plunger will reach the bottom and a spring will place a cover over the needle

After the injection

  • Properly dispose of the entire prefilled syringe
    • Sharps Container
      • Can be purchased at your local pharmacy
      • Disposal
        • Hospitals may take full sharps containers, ask first.
        • Pharmacies and Doctors’ offices are not allowed to take used syringes or needles
  • Discard remaining materials in the trash (cap, alcohol swabs, etc.)

For more information about Actemra.

For more information about Kevzara.


Jessica Farrell, PharmD.  Clinical Pharmacist, The Center for Rheumatology/Associate Professor, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

With the help of Autumn Koniowka. Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate Class of 2018, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and Megan Phillips. Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate Class of 2018, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

A special thanks to Tammy Garren, PhD. Instructional Designer, Center for Innovative Learning, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Injection site image: By British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). Download this book for free at [CC BY 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Medical Disclaimer

This information is offered to educate the general public. The information posted on this website does not replace professional medical advice, but for general information purposes only. There is no Doctor – Patient relationship established. We strongly advised you to speak with your medical professional if you have questions concerning your symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.


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