What is abatacept used for?
Abatacept is a 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. This medicine is for adults and children who are at least 2 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.
How should I take abatacept?
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 give yourself this medicine if you do not understand how to use the injection and properly dispose of needles, IV tubing, and other items used.
Abatacept is injected under the skin when given to a child between 2 and 6 years old.
Abatacept must be given slowly when infected into a vein, and the IV infusion can take at least 30 minutes to complete.
This medicine 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 only when you are ready to give an injection. Do not use if the medicine has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.
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.
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.
If you need to transport the medicine, place the syringes in a cooler with ice packs.
Abatacept that has been mixed with a diluent may be stored in a refrigerator or at room temperature and used within 24 hours.
How do I store abatacept?
Abatacept is best stored in the refrigerator. To prevent drug damage, do not freeze. There may be different brands of abatacept that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.
You should not flush abatacept down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Precautions & warnings
What should I know before using abatacept?
Before using abatacept, tell your doctor if:
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
- You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of abatacept or other medications.
- You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.
- 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.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using abatacept.
If you have ever had hepatitis B, abatacept can cause this condition to come back or get worse. You will need frequent blood tests to check your liver function during treatment and for several months after you stop using this medicine.
This medicine 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.
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.
Children using abatacept should be current on all childhood immunizations before starting treatment.
Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using abatacept during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking abatacept. Abatacept is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:
- A=No risk
- B=No risk in some studies
- C=There may be some risk
- D=Positive evidence of risk
What side effects can occur from abatacept?
Common side effects may include:
- Stomach pain
- Cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough
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
- Signs of skin infection such as itching, swelling, warmth, redness, or oozing
Serious and sometimes fatal infections may occur during treatment with abatacept. Stop using this medicine and call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as:
- Night sweats
- Flu symptoms
- Weight loss
- Feeling very tired
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Warmth, pain, or redness of your skin
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
What drugs may interact with abatacept?
Abatacept may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.
Products that may interact with this drug are:
- Anakinra (Kineret)
- Adalimumab (Humira)
- Certolizumab (Cimzia)
- Etanercept (Enbrel)
- Golimumab (Simponi)
- Infliximab (Remicade)
- Rituximab (Rituxan)
- Tocilizumab (Actemra)
Does food or alcohol interact with abatacept?
Abatacept may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.
What health conditions may interact with abatacept?
Abatacept may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.
Health conditions that may interact with this drug are:
- A weak immune system
- Any type of infection including a skin infection or open sores
- Infections that go away and come back
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- If you are scheduled to receive any vaccines
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using abatacept.
What is the dose of abatacept for an adult?
Usual Adult Dose for Rheumatoid Arthritis:
- Less than 60 kg, give 500 mg.
- If 60 to 100 kg, give 750 mg.
- If greater than 100 kg, give 1000 mg.
Administer once as a 30-minute IV infusion. The dose is repeated 2 and 4 weeks after the initial dose, then every 4 weeks thereafter. It may be administered alone or with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs other than TNF antagonists.
After a single IV infusion as a loading dose (as per body weight categories above), 125 mg administered by subcutaneous injection should be given within a day, followed by 125 mg subcutaneously once a week.
Patients who are unable to receive an infusion may initiate weekly injections subcutaneously without an IV loading dose.
Patients transitioning from IV therapy to subcutaneous administration should administer the first subcutaneous dose instead of the next scheduled IV dose.
What is the dose of abatacept for a child?
Usual Pediatric Dose for Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis:
6 to 17 years:
- If less than 75 kg, give 10 mg/kg IV.
- 75 kg to 100 kg, give 750 mg IV.
- If greater than 100 kg, give 1000 mg IV.
The maximum dose per intravenous administration should not exceed 1000 mg.
Administer once as a 30-minute IV infusion. The dose is repeated 2 and 4 weeks after the initial dose, then every 4 weeks thereafter. It may be administered alone or concomitantly with methotrexate.
2 years and older:
The subcutaneous injection should be given without an IV loading dose:
- 10 kg to less than 25 kg: 50 mg subcutaneously once a week.
- 25 kg to less than 50 kg: 87.5 mg subcutaneously once a week.
- 50 kg or more: 125 mg subcutaneously once a week.
How is abatacept available?
Abatacept is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
- Solution: 125 mg/ml
- Powder for Solution; 250 mg/vial
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of abatacept, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: July 20, 2017 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019
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