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Brand name: Kineret
Drug class: Disease-modifying Antirheumatic Drugs
- Interleukin-1 Inhibitors
Chemical name: N2-l-methionyl-interleukin 1 receptor antagonist (human isoform × reduced)
Molecular formula: C759H1186N208O232S10
CAS number: 143090-92-0

Medically reviewed by on Aug 16, 2022. Written by ASHP.


Recombinant human interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor antagonist; biologic response modifier and disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD).

Uses for Anakinra

Rheumatoid Arthritis in Adults

Used alone or in combination with DMARDs other than tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocking agents (e.g., adalimumab, etanercept, infliximab) for the management of signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and to inhibit progression of structural damage associated with the disease in adults with moderately to severely active disease who have had an inadequate response to therapy with one or more DMARDs. (See Interactions.)

Anakinra Dosage and Administration


  • Monitor neutrophil counts prior to and during anakinra therapy. (See Neutropenia under Cautions.)


Sub-Q Administration

Administer sub-Q at approximately the same time each day.

Administer sub-Q injections into the thighs, abdomen, upper arms, or buttocks. Rotate injection sites. Do not make injections into areas where the skin is tender, bruised, red, or hard; into scars or stretch marks; or close to a vein.

Allow anakinra prefilled syringe to reach room temperature (about 60–90 minutes) prior to administration. Do not remove the needle cover until the prefilled syringe has reached room temperature.

Intended for use under the guidance and supervision of a clinician, but may be self-administered if the clinician determines that the patient and/or their caregiver is competent to prepare and safely administer the drug.



Rheumatoid Arthritis

100 mg (entire contents [0.67 mL] of one prefilled syringe) daily.

Prescribing Limits


Rheumatoid Arthritis

Dosages >100 mg daily do not appear to provide additional benefit.

Special Populations

Renal Impairment

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Consider decreasing dosage to 100 mg every other day in patients with severe renal insufficiency or end-stage renal disease (Clcr <30 mL/minute, as estimated from Scr). (See the Special Populations sections under Pharmacokinetics and under Cautions.)

Cautions for Anakinra


  • Known hypersensitivity to Escherichia coli-derived proteins, anakinra, or any ingredient in the formulation.



Infectious Complications

Increased incidence of serious infections reported. (See Infection under Cautions.) Do not initiate anakinra therapy in patients with active infections. Discontinue the drug in patients who develop a serious infection. Safety and efficacy have not been evaluated in immunosuppressed patients or patients with chronic infections.


Concomitant use of TNF blocking agents (e.g., adalimumab, etanercept, infliximab) not recommended. Increased incidence of serious infections and lack of additional clinical benefit with combined anakinra and etanercept therapy.

Sensitivity Reactions

Hypersensitivity Reactions

Anaphylaxis and anaphylactoid reactions reported rarely.

If a severe hypersensitivity reaction occurs, discontinue anakinra immediately and institute appropriate interventions as indicated (e.g., epinephrine, corticosteroids, maintenance of an adequate airway, oxygen, IV fluids, antihistamines, maintenance of BP).

Latex Sensitivity

The needle cover of the prefilled syringe contains dry natural rubber (latex); individuals sensitive to latex should not handle the needle cover.

Major Toxicities


The incidence of infection, including serious infections, is increased in patients receiving anakinra. Infections of bacterial origin (e.g., cellulitis, pneumonia, bone and joint) most common. Opportunistic infections (fungal, mycobacterial, bacterial, viral) reported rarely. Patients with asthma may be at a higher risk for developing serious infections.

Risk of serious infection and neutropenia increased in patients receiving concomitant anakinra and etanercept compared with etanercept alone.

Hematologic Effects

Small reductions reported in WBC, ANC, and platelet counts; small increases in eosinophil counts reported.

General Precautions

Immunologic Effects

Effect of anakinra in patients with active and/or chronic infections or on the subsequent development of malignancy not fully elucidated.

Anti-anakinra antibodies reported after therapy; not associated with increased adverse events. Effect of neutralizing antibodies on clinical response not fully elucidated.

Do not administer live-virus vaccines to patients receiving anakinra. (See Vaccines under Interactions.)


Neutropenia (ANC < 1000/mm2) and/or reduced neutrophil counts reported. Monitor ANC before therapy is initiated, monthly for 3 months, and then every 3 months for a period up to 1 year during anakinra therapy.

Malignancies and Lymphoproliferative Disorders

Increased incidence of lymphoma compared with general population reported in patients with rheumatoid arthritis receiving anakinra. However, patients with rheumatoid arthritis, especially those with highly active disease, may be at increased risk of lymphoma. Role of human interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra)-induced immunosuppression in the development of malignancies is unknown.

Increased incidence of malignancies involving the breast and respiratory and digestive systems has been reported. Increased incidence of melanoma also reported; clinical importance unknown.

Specific Populations


Category B.


Not known whether anakinra is distributed into milk. Caution if used in nursing women.

Pediatric Use

Evaluated in a limited number of children 2–17 years of age with polyarticular course juvenile rheumatoid arthritis; efficacy not established (insufficient numbers of children have been enrolled in trials). Adverse effects observed in children similar to those in adults. Use of anakinra in pediatric patients is not recommended. The currently available prefilled syringes are not designed to deliver pediatric doses accurately.

Geriatric Use

No substantial differences in safety and efficacy relative to younger adults, but increased sensitivity cannot be ruled out.

Geriatric patients may be at increased risk of serious infection; use with caution.

Geriatric patients may be at increased risk of toxic reactions due to impaired renal function; use with caution. (See Renal Impairment under Cautions.)

Hepatic Impairment

Not studied in patients with severe hepatic impairment.

Renal Impairment

Risk of toxic reactions increased; consider dosage reduction. (See Renal Impairment under Dosage and Administration.)

Elimination reduced in patients with renal insufficiency. (See Special Populations under Pharmacokinetics.)

Common Adverse Effects

Injection-site reaction, infections (principally bacterial origin), headache, nausea, neutropenia, diarrhea, influenza-like symptoms, abdominal pain.

Interactions for Anakinra

Used concomitantly with methotrexate, sulfasalazine, hydroxychloroquine, gold, penicillamine, leflunomide, and/or azathioprine in clinical studies; specific drug interactions not evaluated in humans.


Live virus vaccines should not be administered to patients receiving anakinra. Information is not available regarding whether anakinra would affect the rate of secondary transmission of vaccine virus following administration of a live virus vaccine or regarding any other effect of vaccination on patients receiving the drug.

Information not available regarding effects of vaccination with inactivated vaccine.

Specific Drugs





Concomitant use not recommended; clinical experience insufficient to establish safety and efficacy


Pharmacokinetic interaction unlikely; no alterations in clearance or toxicologic profile of anakinra or methotrexate with concomitant administration in rats

Tetanus toxoid

Immunologic response preserved in 1 study

TNF blocking agents (e.g., adalimumab, etanercept, infliximab)

Increased incidence of adverse effects (serious infections, neutropenia) and no added clinical benefit reported with combined anakinra and etanercept therapy compared with etanercept alone

Concomitant use not recommended

Anakinra Pharmacokinetics



Absolute bioavailability is 95% after sub-Q administration; peak plasma concentrations attained within 3–7 hours.



Not known whether anakinra crosses the placenta or is distributed into milk.



Metabolic fate of anakinra not fully elucidated; no unexpected accumulation after daily sub-Q dosing for up to 24 weeks.

Elimination Route

Excreted principally in urine.


Terminal half-life averages 4–6 hours.

Special Populations

In patients with renal impairment, plasma clearance was reduced by 16–75% depending on Clcr. Less than 2.5% of dose removed by hemodialysis or CAPD. (See Renal Impairment under Dosage and Administration.)

Gender and age (adjusted for Clcr and body weight) do not have substantial effect on mean plasma clearance.

Pharmacokinetics not studied in patients with hepatic impairment.





2–8°C; do not freeze or shake. Protect from light.


  • A biosynthetic (recombinant DNA origin) form of human interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra).

  • A biologic response modifier that blocks the biologic activity of endogenous IL-1.

  • Competitively inhibits binding of IL-1 to the interleukin-1 type I receptor (IL-1RI) expressed in many tissues and organs. Decreases inflammation and cartilage degradation associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Advice to Patients

  • Importance of providing patient a copy of manufacturer’s patient information.

  • Importance of patient informing clinician about existing or recurrent infections prior to initiating therapy.

  • Importance of instructing patient and/or caregiver regarding proper dosage and administration of anakinra, including the use of aseptic technique and safe disposal of needles and syringes, in patients whose clinician has determined that the drug can safely and effectively be self-administered in the patient’s home by the patient, family member, or other responsible individual.

  • Importance of advising patient and/or caregiver about recognition and reporting of adverse effects of anakinra (e.g., sensitivity reactions, infection).

  • Importance of informing clinician if allergy to latex exists.

  • Importance of women informing clinicians if they are or plan to become pregnant or plan to breast-feed.

  • Importance of informing clinicians of existing or contemplated concomitant therapy, including prescription and OTC drugs.

  • Importance of informing patients of other important precautionary information. (See Cautions.)


Excipients in commercially available drug preparations may have clinically important effects in some individuals; consult specific product labeling for details.

Please refer to the ASHP Drug Shortages Resource Center for information on shortages of one or more of these preparations.

Anakinra (Recombinant DNA Origin)


Dosage Forms


Brand Names



Injection, for subcutaneous use

100 mg/0.67 mL

Kineret (preservative-free; available in prefilled disposable syringes)


AHFS DI Essentials™. © Copyright 2022, Selected Revisions August 26, 2014. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 4500 East-West Highway, Suite 900, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.

† Use is not currently included in the labeling approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

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Frequently asked questions