Compare Orencia vs. Rituxan

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

Orencia
(abatacept)

Rituxan
(rituximab)

Calms down the immune system and prevents joint damage. Orencia (abatacept) slows the progress of rheumatoid arthritis, but can also cause serious side effects.Calms down your immune system. Rituxan (Rituximab) is effective for treating multiple types of cancer and arthritis. That said, you'll need to watch for possibly serious side effects, especially infusion reactions.
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Orencia (abatacept)?
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Have you used Rituxan (rituximab)?
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Side effects
OrenciaRituxan
  • 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 »
  • Pyrexia 60%
  • Lung disorder 31%
  • Cardiac disorder 28%
  • Chills 13%
  • Any infection 62%
  • Infusion reaction 12%
  • Any serious infection 11%
  • Cardiac side effect 1%
  • Tested positive for HACA 23%
More Rituxan side effects »
How it works
OrenciaRituxan
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.Rituxan (Rituximab) is a monoclonal antibody. It targets a specific protein on white blood cells that makes it easier for your immune system to find and destroy cancerous cells. It also relieves symptoms and slows the progression of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Type of medication
OrenciaRituxan
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
OrenciaRituxan
  • Infusion
  • Injection
  • Infusion (iv)
Used for
OrenciaRituxan
Risk factors for serious side effects
OrenciaRituxan
  • Using TNF inhibitors
  • Taking immunosuppressive medications
  • History of repeat infections
  • Adults with rheumatoid arthritis taking TNF inhibitors
  • COPD
Detailed Orencia (abatacept) risks & warnings »
  • Taking other immunosuppressant drugs
  • Age 60 or older
  • Weak immune system
  • Taking Rituxan (Rituximab) with immunosuppressant drugs (if using for RA)
  • Taking Rituxan (Rituximab) with chemotherapy (if using for NHL or CLL
Detailed Rituxan (rituximab) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Kidneys and liver
OrenciaRituxan
No kidneys and liver related info.
  • Discuss with your doctor the serious heart, kidney, liver, or stomach problems that can happen while on Rituxan (Rituximab).
Upsides and benefits
OrenciaRituxan
  • 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.
  • Treats leukemia, lymphoma, and blood vessel inflammation.
  • Also treats moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis that hasn't responded to anti-TNF treatment (but you'll need to take methotrexate too).
  • The chance of having a reaction to the infusion is highest during your first dose, but the risk decreases each time you get Rituxan (Rituximab). It usually happens within 30 minutes to 2 hours after starting the infusion.
  • Rituxan (Rituximab) is a targeted therapy that works differently than chemotherapy. Both work well when they're taken together, especially when treating CLL and NHL.
Downsides and risks
OrenciaRituxan
  • 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).
  • Only your doctor or other trained medical staff can administer Rituxan (Rituximab), so you'll need to go into an office or clinic for every dose.
  • Not the best choice if you have heart problems.
  • Rituxan (Rituximab) can stay in your body for up to 6 months after you complete treatment. Men and women who are able to have children need to use birth control for up to one year after finishing Rituxan (Rituximab).
  • Discuss with your doctor the serious heart, kidney, liver, or stomach problems that can happen while on Rituxan (Rituximab).
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
OrenciaRituxan
  • 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.
  • Rituxan (Rituximab) is given as an IV infusion by trained medical staff in a clinic or hospital.
  • You'll need to be monitored in the clinic in case you have a serious or life-threatening reaction during the infusion, but you can take other medications that'll lower your risk of this happening.
  • It's very important that you read the Medication Guide before you start taking Rituxan (Rituximab).
  • Rituxan (Rituximab) lowers your immune system's ability to fight infections, so it's important to let your doctor know if you notice a fever, a cough that doesn't go away, or flu-like symptoms.
  • Use effective birth control while you're taking Rituxan (Rituximab) and for 12 months after you finish treatment.
  • Don't get live vaccines while you're taking Rituxan (Rituximab).
Learn more
More about OrenciaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Orencia (abatacept)?
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More about RituxanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Rituxan (rituximab)?
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