Orencia, |abatacept Abatacept

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

What is abatacept?

Abatacept is a man-made protein that prevents your body"s immune system from attacking healthy tissues such as joints.

Abatacept is used to treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, to slow the progression of joint damage, and to improve physical function.

Abatacept is usually given after other arthritis medications have been tried without successful treatment of symptoms. Abatacept is sometimes given together with other arthritis medications.

Abatacept may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about abatacept?

Before receiving abatacept, tell your doctor if you have ever had tuberculosis or any other breathing disorder, or if you have any type of infection. Before you receive this medication, your doctor may require you to have a skin test to make sure you do not have tuberculosis.

It may be easier for you to get sick or have infections while you are receiving abatacept. Avoid being near people who are sick. Tell your doctor if you have a wound that will not heal.

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to abatacept, or if you are also using anakinra (Kinaret), etanercept (Enbrel), adalimumab (Humira), or infliximab (Remicade).

Vaccines or flu shots may not work as well if you receive them during your treatment with abatacept.

Tell your doctor at once if you develop any type of infection, including flu symptoms, or if you have wheezing, coughing, or other breathing problems.

Some people receiving abatacept have developed certain types of cancer. However, it is not known whether abatacept causes cancer. Talk to your doctor about your individual risk of developing cancer.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before receiving abatacept?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to abatacept, or if you are also using any of the following other medications:
  • anakinra (Kineret);

  • etanercept (Enbrel);

  • infliximab (Remicade); or

  • adalimumab (Humira).

If you are switching to abatacept from one of the medications listed above, watch for new signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, easy bruising or bleeding, or unusual weakness. If you develop any of these symptoms, call your doctor.

Before receiving abatacept, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • a history of tuberculosis;

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD);

  • any type of infection such as the flu or an infected skin wound; or

  • a history of infections that come and go.

If you have any of the conditions listed above, you may not be able to use abatacept or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment.

Before you receive abatacept, your doctor may require you to have a skin test to make sure you do not have tuberculosis.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether abatacept passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

A few people who have received abatacept have developed cancer, but it is not known if abatacept causes cancer. Talk to your doctor about your individual risk of developing cancer.

How is abatacept given?

Abatacept is given as an injection into a vein. Your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional will give you this medicine through an IV needle. Abatacept is given slowly and it will take at least 30 minutes for you to receive the entire dose.

Before you receive this medication, your doctor may require you to have a skin test to make sure you do not have tuberculosis.

This medication comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

In most cases, this medicine is given every 2 weeks for the first month, and then every 4 weeks after that.

You may need to use other medicines with abatacept to treat your arthritis. Follow your doctors instructions about all medications you are using.

Abatacept can cause unusual results with certain blood glucose tests used by diabetics. If you check your blood sugar on the day of your abatacept injection, your results may show a "false-positive" rise in blood glucose. Ask your doctor about the most reliable glucose testing methods to use while you are being treated with abatacept.

Abatacept can lower the blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

If you need to have any type of surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using abatacept. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor if you miss an appointment for your abatacept injection.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Symptoms of an abatacept overdose are not known.

What should I avoid while receiving abatacept?

Avoid being near with people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

You should not receive any vaccinations, including flu shots, while you are receiving abatacept. Vaccines may not work as well if you receive them during your treatment with abatacept.

Abatacept side effects

Some people receiving an abatacept injection have had a reaction to the infusion (within 1 hour of when the medicine is injected into the vein). Tell your caregiver right away if you feel dizzy, itchy, light-headed, or numb, or if you have a severe headache, blurred vision, trouble concentrating, chest pain, chest tightness, or trouble breathing. Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;

  • easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;

  • night sweats, weight loss;

  • a wound that won"t heal;

  • burning or pain when you urinate;

  • feeling faint or light-headed;

  • wheezing, cough, or other breathing problems;

  • skin rash, itching, or flushing (redness or warmth); or

  • shingles (herpes zoster).

Less serious side effects are more likely to occur, such as:

  • headache;

  • runny or stuffy nose, sore throat;

  • nausea; or

  • dizziness.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect abatacept?

There may be other drugs that can affect abatacept. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has information about abatacept written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Abatacept is available with a prescription under the brand name Orencia. Other brand or generic forms may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ("Multum") is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum"s drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. 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. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.05. Revision Date: 04/30/2007 4:30:47 PM.

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