Like all medications, taking sarilumab carries some risk of side effects, which must be balanced with the potential benefits. In general, the risk of joint damage and permanent disability (resulting from arthritis) is much greater than the risks of side effects from sarilumab. When monitored properly the vast majority of side effects are rare, most improve over time and are reversible.
Firstly, as with all DMARD and biologic medications, sarilumab can lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections and increase your risk of infections.
The most common side effects of sarilumab are cold sores and upper respiratory tract infections/symptoms (coughs and cold, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, and coughing). Some people also experience urinary tract infections. Sarilumab can rarely cause a reaction (redness, pain, and itching) at the injection site. Talk to your health-care provider if these symptoms become severe.
Sarilumab may affect your blood counts, liver or kidney function and cholesterol levels. Your health-care provider will use blood tests to monitor for these changes.
Very rarely sarilumab has been associated with stomach perforations (holes in the lining of the stomach), usually as a complication of diverticulitis (infection of the large intestine). Sarilumab should be used with caution in patients who may be at increased risk for stomach perforation (e.g., using NSAIDs and/or corticosteroids, people with a history of diverticulitis). Stomach perforations require immediate medical attention. If you develop fever and severe stomach pain that does not go away, seek medical attention.