What is this medication for?
Abatacept belongs to a group of medications called selective costimulation modulators. It is used to treat adults with moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis or to treat children 6 years of age and older with moderate-to-severe active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Abatacept can be used alone or in combination with a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD).
For people with rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks normal tissues in the joints, causing pain, inflammation, and damage. Abatacept works by keeping the immune system from attacking normal tissues.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you are not sure why you are using this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Orencia® is available as:
- 250 mg vial
- 125 mg/mL pre-filled syringe
Some medications may have other generic brands available. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about the safety of switching between brands of the same medication.
How should I use this medication?
The recommended dose of abatacept varies according to body weight. It is injected intravenously (into a vein) by a health care professional, usually in a clinical setting such as a hospital. The appropriate dose is usually given once every 2 weeks for the first 3 doses, and then once every 4 weeks thereafter.
For adults with rheumatoid arthritis, abatacept may also be given subcutaneously (under the skin) with or without the initial intravenous dosing by a health care professional. Your doctor will demonstrate how you can do this at home. Dosing for subcutaneous injection is usually once a week.
Abatacept is used with the guidance and supervision of a doctor. Your doctor or nurse will assist you in the preparing and injecting your first dose (or first few doses). Do not attempt to prepare or inject this medication on your own until you completely understand how to mix and inject a dose. If you are having difficulty giving yourself injections, talk to your health care provider.
It is important that this medication be used exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss an appointment to receive abatacept, contact your doctor as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.
This medication must be refrigerated at 2°C to 8°C, protected from light, and kept out of the reach of children.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not use abatacept if you are allergic to abatacept or any of the ingredients of the medication.