Questions about Rheumatoid Arthritis? Get answers from our expert.

Generic Name: abatacept (a-BAT-a-sept)
Brand Name: Orencia

Orencia is used for:

Treating moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adults. It is also used to treat certain types of moderate to severe juvenile arthritis in children. It may be used alone or with other medicines. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Orencia is a selective co-stimulation modulator. It works by stopping the immune system from attacking healthy tissues in the body.

Do NOT use Orencia if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Orencia
  • you are using anakinra, tocilizumab, or a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker (eg, etanercept)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Video: Treatment Options for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Doctor Ariel D. Teitel discusses several treatments that can help control the progression of the disease and help to alleviate the swelling and pain.

Before using Orencia:

Some medical conditions may interact with Orencia. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have an infection (including an infection that will not go away), a history of tuberculosis (TB), or a positive skin test for TB, or you have recently been in close contact with someone who has had TB
  • if you are at risk for developing an infection or have a history of infections that keep coming back
  • if you have a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or if you have hepatitis
  • if you are scheduled for surgery, you recently received a vaccine, you are scheduled for a vaccine, or your vaccines need to be brought up to date

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Orencia. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Rituximab, TNF blockers (eg, etanercept), tocilizumab, or medicines used to suppress the immune system (eg, tacrolimus) because the risk of serious infection may be increased
  • Anakinra because the risk of side effects may be increased
  • Live vaccinations because their effectiveness may be decreased by Orencia

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Orencia may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Orencia:

Use Orencia as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with Orencia. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Orencia is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using Orencia at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use Orencia. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Use the proper technique taught to you by your doctor. Inject deep under the skin, NOT into muscle.
  • Injection sites within an injection area (abdomen, thigh, outer area of the upper arm) must be rotated from one injection to the next. The same thigh may be used for weekly injections as long as each injection is at least 1 inch away from the last area you injected. Do not inject into areas where the skin is tender, bruised, red, or hard. Avoid areas with scars or stretch marks.
  • Allow Orencia to remain at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes before preparing it for use. Do not warm or thaw Orencia with hot water or by placing in the microwave.
  • Orencia should be clear and colorless to pale yellow. Do not use Orencia if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of Orencia, contact your doctor right away. Your doctor will establish a new dosing schedule.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Orencia.

Important safety information:

  • Orencia may cause dizziness. This effect may be worse if you use it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Orencia with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Orencia may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Serious and sometimes fatal infections have been reported in patients using Orencia. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Tell your doctor right away if you notice signs of infection like fever, chills, or persistent cough or sore throat; warm, red, or painful skin; frequent, difficult, or painful urination; severe or persistent diarrhea or stomach pain; unusual tiredness.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Orencia before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Do not receive a live vaccine (eg, measles, mumps) while you are using Orencia or within 3 months after stopping therapy with Orencia. Talk with your doctor before you receive any vaccine.
  • Your doctor may test you for TB or viral hepatitis before you begin using Orencia. Contact your doctor with any questions about this information.
  • Severe and possibly fatal allergic reactions have be rarely reported after the first dose of Orencia. Symptoms may include rash; hives; itching; trouble breathing; swelling of the face, eyelids, lips, or tongue; or severe or persistent dizziness. Contact your doctor at once if you have any of these symptoms during or for the first day after you receive Orencia.
  • Rarely, patients using Orencia have developed cancer. It is not known if Orencia may have contributed to the development of cancer. Contact your doctor with any questions or concerns.
  • Use Orencia with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially the risk of infection or cancer.
  • Orencia should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 18 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Orencia while you are pregnant. It is not known if Orencia is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while using Orencia.

Possible side effects of Orencia:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Diarrhea; dizziness; headache; mild pain, swelling, bruising, or redness at the injection site; nausea; nose or throat irritation; stomach pain or upset; stuffy nose.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); fainting; flu-like symptoms; light-headedness; night sweats; severe or persistent headache or dizziness; shortness of breath; unexplained weight loss; unusual lumps or growths; wheezing.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Orencia:

Orencia is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using Orencia at home, store Orencia as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep Orencia out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Orencia, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Orencia is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Orencia or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about Orencia. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Orencia. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Orencia.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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