Generic Name: abatacept (a BAY ta sept)
Brand Names: Orencia

What is Orencia?

Orencia (abatacept) is a man-made protein that prevents your body's immune system from attacking healthy tissues such as joints. The immune system helps your body fight infections. In people with autoimmune disorders, the immune system mistakes the body's own cells for invaders and attacks them.

Orencia is used to treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and to prevent joint damage caused by these conditions. Orencia is also used to treat arthritis in children who are at least 6 years old.

Orencia is not a cure for any autoimmune disorder and will only treat the symptoms of your condition.

Orencia may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important information

You should not use Orencia if you are allergic to abatacept, or if you are also using anakinra (Kineret), etanercept (Enbrel), adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab (Cimzia), golimumab (Simponi), infliximab (Remicade), natalizumab (Tysabri), rituximab (Rituxan), or tocilizumab (Actemra).

Before using Orencia, tell your doctor if you have ever had tuberculosis, if anyone in your household has tuberculosis, or if you have recently traveled to an area where tuberculosis is common.

Slideshow: Drug Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis - What Are Your Options?

Also tell your doctor if you have a weak immune system, any type of infection (including skin infection or open sores), COPD, diabetes, a history of hepatitis, or if you have scheduled to receive any vaccinations.

Children using this medication should be current on all childhood immunizations before starting treatment with Orencia. Serious infections may occur during treatment with Orencia. Contact your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as: fever, chills, dry cough, sore throat, night sweats, tired feeling, weight loss, or painful warmth or redness of your skin.

Using Orencia may increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer such as lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). This risk may be greater in older adults. Talk to your doctor about your specific risk.

Before using Orencia

You should not use Orencia if you are allergic to abatacept, or if you are also using anakinra (Kineret), etanercept (Enbrel), adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab (Cimzia), golimumab (Simponi), infliximab (Remicade), natalizumab (Tysabri), rituximab (Rituxan), or tocilizumab (Actemra).

Before using Orencia, tell your doctor if you have ever had tuberculosis, if anyone in your household has tuberculosis, or if you have recently traveled to an area where tuberculosis is common.

To make sure you can safely use Orencia, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • a weak immune system;

  • any type of infection including a skin infection or open sores;

  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease);

  • diabetes;

  • if you have ever had hepatitis; or

  • if you are scheduled to receive any vaccines.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Orencia will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication. If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and to evaluate any effects of Orencia on the baby. It is not known whether abatacept passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using Orencia. Children using this medication should be current on all childhood immunizations before starting treatment with Orencia.

See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)

Using Orencia may increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer such as lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). This risk may be greater in older adults. Talk to your doctor about your specific risk.

How should I use Orencia?

Before you start treatment with Orencia, your doctor may perform tests to make sure you do not have tuberculosis or other infections.

Orencia is injected under the skin, or into a vein through an IV. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles, syringes, IV tubing, and other items used to inject the medicine.

Orencia must be given slowly when infected into a vein,and the IV infusion can take at least 30 minutes to complete.

Orencia is usually given every 1 to 4 weeks. Follow your doctor's instructions.

You will need to mix Orencia with a liquid (diluent) before using it. If you are using the injections at home, be sure you understand how to properly mix and store the medication.

Do not shake the medication bottle or you may ruin the medicine. Prepare your dose in a syringe only when you are ready to give yourself an injection. Do not use the medication if it has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription.

Each single-use vial (bottle) or prefilled syringe of this medicine is for one use only. Throw away after one use, even if there is still some medicine left in it after injecting your dose.

Use a disposable needle only once. Throw away used needles in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using Orencia. If you have hepatitis B you may develop liver symptoms after you stop taking this medication, even months after stopping. Your doctor may want to check your liver function for several months after you stop using Orencia. Visit your doctor regularly.

This medication can cause false results with certain blood glucose tests, showing high blood sugar readings. If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor about the best way to check your blood sugar while you are using Orencia.

Autoimmune disorders are often treated with a combination of different drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice.

Store Orencia in the refrigerator. Do not freeze and protect from light. Keep the medicine in original carton to protect it from light. Do not use Orencia if the expiration date on the medicine label has passed. Orencia that has been mixed with a diluent may be stored in a refrigerator or at room temperature and used within 24 hours.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss your Orencia dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid?

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using Orencia, and for at least 3 months after your treatment ends. The vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), oral polio, rotavirus, smallpox, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), H1N1 influenza, and nasal flu vaccine.

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Orencia side effects

Some people receiving an Orencia injection have had a reaction to the infusion (when the medicine is injected into the vein). Tell your caregiver right away if you feel dizzy, light-headed, itchy, or have a severe headache or trouble breathing within 1 hour after receiving the injection.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Orencia: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Serious infections may occur during treatment with Orencia. Stop using Orencia and call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as:

  • fever, chills, night sweats, flu symptoms, weight loss;

  • feeling very tired;

  • dry cough, sore throat; or

  • warmth, pain, or redness of your skin.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these other serious side effects:
  • trouble breathing;

  • stabbing chest pain, wheezing, cough with yellow or green mucus;

  • pain or burning when you urinate; or

  • signs of skin infection such as itching, swelling, warmth, redness, or oozing.

Less serious Orencia side effects may include:

  • nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, indigestion; or

  • headache, dizziness;

  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough;

  • back pain.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Orencia?

There may be other drugs that can interact with Orencia. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about Orencia.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects.

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 6.01. Revision Date: 9/19/2011 11:14:38 AM.

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