abatacept, Orencia

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is abatacept, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Abatacept is an injectable, synthetic (man-made) protein produced by recombinant DNA technology that is used for treating rheumatoid arthritis. It is an immunesuppressant, a drug that suppresses the immune system that is similar to alefacept (Amevive) and belatacept (Nulojix). The immune system is responsible for protecting the body against foreign invaders, for example, infectious agents such as bacteria. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, however, the immune system attacks and destroys normal tissue in and around the joints, causing pain, inflammation and damage to bone and cartilage. T-lymphocytes are important cells of the immune system. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis have increased numbers of T-lymphocytes within the joints that are inflamed. The T-lymphocytes are "activated," that is, they multiply and release chemicals that promote the destruction of tissues surrounding the joints and cause the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Abatacept acts like an antibody and attaches to a protein on the surface of T-lymphocytes. By attaching to the protein, abatacept prevents the activation of the T-lymphocytes and blocks both the production of new T-lymphocytes and the production of the chemicals that destroy tissue and cause the symptoms and signs of arthritis. Abatacept relieves the symptoms and signs of arthritis and is a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) because it slows the damage to bones and cartilage and improves physical function. Abatacept was approved by the FDA in December 2005.

What brand names are available for abatacept?

Orencia

Is abatacept available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: No

Do I need a prescription for abatacept?

Yes

What are the side effects of abatacept?

The most common side effects of abatacept are:

Because abatacept depresses the immune system it reduces the body's ability to fight infection. Therefore, existing infections may worsen or new ones may develop.

Other important side effects include infusion-related reactions such as:

The most serious side effects are infections and cancer.

Quick GuideRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment
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