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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using 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.
To make sure you can safely use abatacept, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether abatacept 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 abatacept 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 abatacept.
Children using this medication should be current on all childhood immunizations before starting treatment with abatacept.
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.
How should I use abatacept (Orencia)?
Before you start treatment with abatacept, your doctor may perform tests to make sure you do not have tuberculosis or other infections.
Abatacept 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.
Abatacept must be given slowly when infected into a vein, and the IV infusion can take at least 30 minutes to complete.
This medication is usually given every 1 to 4 weeks. Follow your doctor's instructions.
You may need to mix abatacept 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 abatacept.
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 abatacept. 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 abatacept.
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 this medication in the refrigerator. Do not freeze and protect from light. Keep the medicine in original carton to protect it from light. Do not use abatacept if the expiration date on the medicine label has passed.
Abatacept that has been mixed with a diluent may be stored in a refrigerator or at room temperature and used within 24 hours.
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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