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Generic Name:

abatacept, Injectable solution

All Brands

  • Orencia
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for abatacept

Injectable solution
1

Abatacept is only available as a brand-name drug. Brand name: Orencia

2

Abatacept is used to treat adult rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and adult psoriatic arthritis.

3

Abatacept may be given as an injection or in an infusion. If you’re receiving the injectable version, your doctor may allow you or a caregiver to give your injections of abatacept at home. Don’t try to inject it until you’ve been trained by your healthcare provider.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Live vaccine warning

You shouldn’t receive a live vaccine while taking this drug and for at least 3 months after stopping the medication. The vaccine might not fully protect you from the disease while you’re taking this drug.

Tuberculosis warning

Tell your doctor if you’ve had the lung infection tuberculosis (TB), a positive skin test for TB, or you’ve recently been in close contact with someone who’s had TB. Before you use this drug, your healthcare provider may examine you for TB or perform a skin test. Symptoms of TB may include:

  • cough that doesn’t go away
  • weight loss
  • fever
  • night sweats

Hepatitis B warning

If you’re a carrier of the hepatitis B virus, the virus can become active while you use this drug. Your doctor may do a blood test before and during this drug treatment.

What is abatacept?

Abatacept is a prescription medication. It comes in two forms:

  • As a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection that comes in a prefilled syringe. Your doctor may allow you or a caregiver to give your injections of abatacept at home. Don’t try to inject it until you’ve been trained by your healthcare provider.
  • As a powder that comes in a single-use vial for mixing into a solution for intravenous infusion. This form cannot be given at home.

Abatacept is only available as the brand-name drug Orencia.

Why it's used

Abatacept is used to treat adult rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and adult psoriatic arthritis.

How it works

Rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and adult psoriatic arthritis cause your immune system to attack normal cells in your body See Details

How it works

Rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and adult psoriatic arthritis cause your immune system to attack normal cells in your body. This can lead to joint damage, swelling, and pain. Abatacept can help keep your immune system working well. It can also help reduce swelling and pain, and it may prevent further damage to your bones and joints.

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SECTION 2 of 4

abatacept Side Effects

Injectable solution

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with abatacept include:

  • headache

  • upper respiratory tract infection

  • sore throat

  • nausea

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • new or worsened infections. These include respiratory infections and urinary tract infections. Symptoms of infection may include:

    • fever
    • tiredness
    • cough
    • flu-like symptoms
    • warm, red, or painful skin
  • allergic reactions. Symptoms may include:

    • hives
    • swollen face, eyelids, lips, or tongue
    • trouble breathing
  • cancer. Certain kinds of cancer have been reported in people using abatacept. It isn’t known if abatacept increases your chance of getting certain kinds of cancer.

Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug does not cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

abatacept May Interact with Other Medications

Injectable solution

Abatacept may interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Biologics

These include:

  • infliximab
  • etanercept
  • adalimumab

You may have a higher chance of getting a serious infection if you take abatacept with other biologic medicines for your arthritis.

Live Vaccines

These include:

  • nasal flu vaccine
  • measles/mumps/rubella vaccine
  • chickenpox (varicella) vaccine

Don’t receive a live vaccine while taking abatacept and for at least 3 months after stopping the medication. The vaccine will not fully protect you from disease while taking abatacept.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
 Infections
People with infections

You have an increased chance of getting a serious infection when taking this drug. Tell your doctor if you have any kind of infection, even if it’s small (such as an open cut or sore), or an infection that’s in your whole body (such as the flu).

Lung
People with tuberculosis

Tell your doctor if you’ve had the lung infection tuberculosis (TB), a positive skin test result for TB, or if you’ve recently been in close contact with someone who’s had TB. Before you use this drug, your healthcare provider may examine you for TB or perform a skin test. Taking this drug if you have TB could worsen the TB and make it uncontrollable. This could result in death. Symptoms of TB may include:

  • cough that doesn’t go away
  • weight loss
  • fever
  • night sweats
copd
People with COPD

If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you may be at greater risk of worsening symptoms. These may include a flare-up of your disease, making it harder for you to breathe. Other side effects may include worsening cough or shortness of breath.

hepatitis B virus
People with hepatitis B virus infection

If you’re a carrier of the hepatitis B virus, the virus can become active while you use this drug. Your healthcare provider may do blood tests before and during your drug treatment.

Pregnant Women
Pregnant women

There are no good studies of abatacept use in pregnant women, so the risk to pregnant women isn’t known. If you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about whether you should use abatacept. This drug should only be used during pregnancy if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

There is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors outcomes in women given abatacept during pregnancy. You can enroll in this registry by calling 1-877-311-8972. Your doctor can tell you more.

Nursing
Women who are breast-feeding

It isn’t known if this drug passes through breast milk. If it does, it can cause serious adverse effects to a breastfeeding child. Tell your doctor if you’re breastfeeding. You may need to decide whether to breastfeed or take this drug.

Allergies
Allergies

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives
SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take abatacept (Dosage)

Injectable solution

The following dosages are ranges for typical dosages only for the form of abatacept that you give to yourself under your skin (subcutaneously). Your treatment may also include abatacept that is given to you through a vein (intravenously) by your healthcare provider.

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What Are You Taking This Medication For?

Rheumatoid arthritis

Brand: Orencia

Form: subcutaneous injection in an autoinjector
Strength: 125 mg/mL solution
Form: subcutaneous injection in a single-dose prefilled syringe
Strengths: 50 mg/0.4 mL, 87.5 mg/0.7 mL, 125 mg/mL solution
Form: intravenous powder in a single-use vial for infusion
Strength: 250 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

Subcutaneous injection: The typical dosage is 125 mg, injected once per week under your skin.

Intravenous infusion: Dosage is based on weight. Following the first dose, it’s typically given at two weeks, four weeks, and every four weeks after that.

  • For adults who weigh less than 132 pounds (60 kg): The typical dose is 500 mg.
  • For adults who weigh 132 to 220 pounds (60 to 100 kg): The typical dose is 750 mg.
  • For adults who weigh more than 220 pounds (100 kg): The typical dose is 1,000 mg.
Child dosage (ages 6–17 years)

Subcutaneous injection: Dosage is based on weight. It’s typically given once per week.

  • For children who weigh 22 pounds (10 kg) to less than 55 pounds (25 kg): The typical dose is 50 mg.
  • For children who weigh 55 pounds (25 kg) to 110 pounds (50 kg): The typical dose is 87.5 mg.
  • For children who weigh more than 110 pounds (50 kg): The typical dose is 125 mg.

Intravenous infusion: Children weighing less than 165 pounds (75 kg) should be given 10 mg/kg. Children weighing 165 pounds (75 kg) or more should be given the adult dosage, with a maximum dose of 1,000 mg.

Child dosage (ages 2–5 years)

Subcutaneous injection: Dosage is based on weight. It’s typically given once per week.

  • For children who weigh 22 pounds (10 kg) to less than 55 pounds (25 kg): The typical dose is 50 mg.
  • For children who weigh 55 pounds (25 kg) to 110 pounds (50 kg): The typical dose is 87.5 mg.
  • For children who weigh more than 110 pounds (50 kg): The typical dose is 125 mg.

Intravenous infusion: Intravenous dosing has not been approved in children younger than 6 years.

Child dosage (ages 0–1 year)

Subcutaneous injection: Subcutaneous dosing has not been studied in children younger than 2 years.

Intravenous infusion: Intravenous dosing has not been studied in children younger than 6 years.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If You Don’t Take It at All

If you don’t take this medication your symptoms won’t be controlled and you could have worse symptoms, such as bone or joint damage.

If You Don’t Take It on Schedule

It’s important to keep on schedule to ensure that the medication has the same effect on your symptoms and condition. Not taking the medication on schedule could cause your condition and symptoms to get worse.

If You Stop Taking It

If you stop taking this medication, your condition and symptoms could get worse.

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

This drug is given once per week. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. If it’s almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Don’t take double or extra doses.

How to Tell If the Drug Is Working

You may be able to tell this working if you have less pain and inflammation, and if you’re able to do your daily activities more easily.

This is a long-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking this drug
Storage
Store in the refrigerator
See Details
Refillable
Prescription is refillable
Travel
Travel
See Details
Self Management
Self-management
See Details
Stock
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug, so you should call ahead
Authorization
Insurance
See Details

Store in the refrigerator

Keep it in temperatures between 36°F (2.2°C) and 46°F (7.7°C). Don’t freeze the medication.

Keep this drug in the original package and out of the light.

Safely throw away medicine that’s out of date or no longer needed.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Carry prefilled syringes with you in your travel cooler at a temperature of 36°F (2.2°C) to 46°F (7.7°C) until you’re ready to use it.
  • Don’t freeze this drug.
  • Generally, you’re allowed to carry abatacept prefilled syringes with you on an airplane. Be sure to keep the prefilled syringes with you on the plane. Don’t put them in your checked luggage.
  • Airport X-ray machines can’t hurt this medication.
  • Keep this drug in the original carton with its original preprinted labels.
  • Your healthcare provider may know about special carrying cases for injectable medicines.
  • If syringes don’t stay cool for an extended period of time, they may be dangerous to use.

Self-management

Your healthcare provider may allow you or a caregiver to give your injections of this drug at home. If so, you or your caregiver should receive training on the right way to prepare and inject it. Don’t try to inject this drug until you’ve been trained.

If you inject this medication on your own, you should rotate your injection sites. Typical injection sites include you thigh or abdomen. Don’t inject this drug into areas where your skin is tender, bruised, red, or hard.

Insurance

Many insurance companies will require a prior authorization before they approve the prescription and pay for this drug.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.


Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on May 27, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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