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Orencia (Abatacept) decreases inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis.

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Prescription onlyNo lower cost generic available

Our pharmacists’ bottom line

Orencia (Abatacept) slows the progress of rheumatoid arthritis, but can also have serious side effects.

  • Helps minimize joint damage, lowers symptoms, and prevents future problems.
  • 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.
  • People taking [name-common] 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.
  • Orencia (Abatacept) can be used without other medications for RA.
  • You'll have to get your blood tested regularly while taking Orencia (Abatacept).
  • You'll probably have to take other medications to help treat your RA symptoms.
  • Orencia (Abatacept) is pretty expensive.
  • The IV infusion form of Orencia (Abatacept) can cause a reaction, which ranges from a slight itching or warm feeling to more serious complications like low blood pressure and chest pain.
  • Because RA is chronic disease, you'll likely take Orencia (Abatacept) for many years.

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Side effects for Orencia (Abatacept)

From clinical trials of Orencia / Rheumatoid Arthritis ( 2944)

  • HeadacheHeadache18% for Orencia vs.13% for placebo
  • Common coldCommon cold12% for Orencia vs.9% for placebo
  • DizzinessDizziness9% for Orencia vs.7% for placebo
  • CoughCough8% for Orencia vs.7% for placebo
  • Back painBack pain7% for Orencia vs.6% for placebo
  • High blood pressureHigh blood pressure7% for Orencia vs.4% for placebo
  • IndigestionIndigestion6% for Orencia vs.4% for placebo
  • Urinary tract infectionUrinary tract infection6% for Orencia vs.5% for placebo
  • RashRash4% for Orencia vs.3% for placebo
  • Pain in extremityPain in extremity3% for Orencia vs.2% for placebo

What to expect when you start Orencia (Abatacept)

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • Keep the Orencia (Abatacept) self-injection refrigerated, but let it rest at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes before using it.
  • Each time you use Orencia (Abatacept), be sure to rotate the sites you chose to inject it in. Don't inject it where your skin is tender, bruised, red, or scaly.
  • If you decide to go with the IV version of Orencia (Abatacept), you will only need to get infusions once a month. The self-injections however need to be taken once a week.
  • If you get the IV infusion, stay hydrated, try to relax, and ask your nurse to apply dry heat (instant warm packs) to your arm to help find your good veins.

Risks and Warnings for Orencia (Abatacept)

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  • You shouldn't take Orencia (Abatacept) with TNF antagonists (other DMARDs like Remicade, Humira, and Enbrel). People taking any of these combinations can experience more infections.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Orencia (Abatacept)

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The FDA category for this medication is C. It is advised that you: Weigh risks vs. benefits