Compare Orencia vs. Methotrexate

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Orencia
(abatacept)

Otrexup
(methotrexate)

Calms down the immune system and prevents joint damage. Orencia (abatacept) slows the progress of rheumatoid arthritis, but can also cause serious side effects.Treats cancer and changes how your immune system works. Otrexup (Methotrexate) is a first line treatment for many autoimmune diseases and types of cancer. If you're taking it for a long time, you'll have to get routine blood tests.
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Orencia (abatacept)?
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Have you used Otrexup (methotrexate)?
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Side effects
OrenciaMethotrexate
  • Headache 5%
  • Common cold 3%
  • Dizziness 2%
  • Cough 1%
  • Back pain 1%
  • High blood pressure 3%
  • Indigestion 2%
  • Urinary tract infection 1%
  • Rash 1%
  • Pain in arms or legs 1%
More Orencia side effects »
  • Elevated liver function tests 15%
  • Nausea/vomiting 10%
  • Mouth and lip swelling 10%
  • Thrombocytopenia 10%
  • Rash/pruritus/dermatitis 3%
  • Diarrhea 3%
  • Hair loss or baldness 3%
  • Low white blood cells 3%
  • Low blood cell count 3%
  • Dizziness 3%
More Methotrexate side effects »
How it works
OrenciaMethotrexate
Orencia (abatacept) is a biologic DMARD (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug) - sometimes just called a "biologic". It prevents your body from activating the cells that cause inflammation.Otrexup (Methotrexate) is an anti-cancer and immunosuppressive medication that treats forms of cancer, arthritis, and psoriasis. For cancer, it helps your body destroy cancer cells by blocking building blocks that cancer cells need to grow. For rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, it lowers the body's normal immune response and prevents the body from attacking itself.
Type of medication
OrenciaMethotrexate
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
OrenciaMethotrexate
  • Infusion
  • Injection
  • Pill
  • Injection
Used for
OrenciaMethotrexate
Risk factors for serious side effects
OrenciaMethotrexate
  • Using TNF inhibitors
  • Taking immunosuppressive medications
  • History of repeat infections
  • Adults with rheumatoid arthritis taking TNF inhibitors
  • COPD
Detailed Orencia (abatacept) risks & warnings »
  • Women of childbearing age
  • Men of childbearing potential
  • Reduced kidney function
  • fluid in the abdomen (ascites)
  • fluid in the lungs (pleural effusion)
Detailed Otrexup (methotrexate) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with real people or animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. If you’re pregnant, the risks to your unborn baby outweigh the benefits.

Alcohol
OrenciaMethotrexate
No alcohol related info.
  • Don't use alcohol, NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory medications), or stay in the sun too long.
  • You have to avoid alcohol and being in the sun too long.
Upsides and benefits
OrenciaMethotrexate
  • In a 2-year study that used IV Orencia (abatacept) with methotrexate, more than half of the people had remission and the majority felt significantly better.
  • Helps minimize joint damage, lowers symptoms, and prevents future problems. People taking Orencia (abatacept) had no new joint damage after two years.
  • Taking Orencia (abatacept) allows RA patients to use less prednisone, a steroid that has many side effects.
  • You can give yourself Orencia (abatacept) subcutaneously on your own at home rather than visiting a clinic or hospital.
  • Available in a prefilled autoinjector for convenient use.
  • Recommended as first line treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Available as a generic medication. Comes as a tablet, an injection that you give yourself weekly, and as an infusion that you get in your doctor's office or at an infusion center.
  • If you accidentally take too much, there's an antidote to help your body recover.
Downsides and risks
OrenciaMethotrexate
  • Orencia (abatacept) can be costly.
  • The IV infusion form of Orencia (abatacept) can cause a reaction, which ranges from a slight itching or warm feeling to more serious side effects such as low blood pressure and chest pain.
  • The IV infusion form of Orencia (abatacept) contains maltose, a type of sugar, that can give false high blood sugar readings with certain types of blood sugar monitors on the day of Orencia (abatacept) infusion. The self-injection subcutaneous form does not contain maltose. Talk to your doctor if you have diabetes.
  • If you need TNF inhibitors as part of your treatment, it is not recommended to take Orencia (abatacept). If you have COPD, you are at higher risk of side effects.
  • Orencia (abatacept) lowers your ability to fight infection. Your risk can increase if you take medications that lower your immune system or have an active infection. You may need to get tested for tuberculosis before starting Orencia (abatacept).
  • You have to be on birth control for at least 2 to 3 months after you finish Otrexup (Methotrexate) since it can cause birth defects.
  • You have to avoid alcohol and being in the sun too long.
  • You'll have to get blood tests done if you're taking this long-term because it can cause harmful side effects.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
OrenciaMethotrexate
  • If you are using the IV version of Orencia (abatacept), you will only need to get infusions once a month (after the first initial doses). It takes about 30 minutes to give the full dose of medicine. Stay hydrated and ask your nurse to apply dry heat (instant warm packs) to your arm to help find your good veins.
  • The self-injections are taken once a week. You or your caregiver should receive training on the proper way to prepare and inject Orencia (abatacept).
  • Keep the Orencia (abatacept) self-injection refrigerated, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before using it.
  • Each time you use Orencia (abatacept), it's important to rotate the sites you chose to inject it in. Don't inject Orencia (abatacept) into skin that's red, bruised, or irritated.
  • Talk with your doctor before getting any vaccines. Use of this drug may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
  • As with all injection medicines, store it securely away from children and throw away used syringes in an FDA-approved sharps disposal container, never in the trash.
  • Don't use alcohol, NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory medications), or stay in the sun too long.
  • Use birth control and avoid pregnancy for at least 2 months (for women) and 3 months (for men) after you finish Otrexup (Methotrexate).
  • Drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated while taking this.
  • Take the medication exactly as your doctor or pharmacist tells you. Call your doctor or pharmacist if you're confused.
Learn more
More about OrenciaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Orencia (abatacept)?
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More about MethotrexateSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Otrexup (methotrexate)?
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