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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Orencia

Generic Name: abatacept (Pronunciation: a BAY ta sept)

What is abatacept (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.

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

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

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

What are the possible side effects of abatacept (Orencia)?

Some people receiving an abatacept 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: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Serious infections may occur during treatment with abatacept. Stop using abatacept and call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as:

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 side effects may include:

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.

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

You should not use abatacept if you are allergic to it, 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 abatacept, 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.

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 abatacept.

Serious infections may occur during treatment with abatacept. 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 abatacept 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.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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