Orencia

(abatacept)

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Calms down the immune system and prevents joint damage.

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Our bottom line

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

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    $4110.67
Quick facts about Orencia
  • Drug class: autoimmune
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: No lower cost generic available

Upsides

  • 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.
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What to expect from Orencia, on one page

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Downsides

  • 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).
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How it works

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.

Quick facts about Orencia
  • Drug class: autoimmune
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: No lower cost generic available

Used for

Dosage forms

  • Infusion
  • Injection
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Prices and coupons

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What to expect when you take Orencia (abatacept) for Rheumatoid arthritis

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  • First few hoursHours
    First few daysDays
    First few weeksWeeks
    First few monthsMonths
  • Effectiveness
  • Starts to kick in
    Full effects
  • First few hoursHours
    First few daysDays
    First few weeksWeeks
    First few monthsMonths
  • Possible side effects
  • Mild injection site reactions
  • Infusion reactions
  • Headache
  • Common cold
  • Cough
  • High blood pressure
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Side effect rates for Orencia (abatacept)

From 2944 clinical trials of Orencia when taken for rheumatoid arthritis
  • Headache
    18%18%
    13%13%
  • Common cold
    12%12%
    9%9%
  • Dizziness
    9%9%
    7%7%
  • Cough
    8%8%
    7%7%
  • Back pain
    7%7%
    6%6%
  • High blood pressure
    7%7%
    4%4%
  • Indigestion
    6%6%
    4%4%
  • Urinary tract infection
    6%6%
    5%5%
  • Rash
    4%4%
    3%3%
  • Pain in arms or legs
    3%3%
    2%2%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
Where we got our data »

The placebo bar shows how common a side effect was for people taking a sugar pill instead of Orencia.

Orencia (abatacept)
Placebo

People taking Orencia felt side effect more

People taking Orencia felt side effect less

No difference

Risks and Warnings for Orencia (abatacept)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Using TNF inhibitors

    You shouldn't take Orencia (abatacept) with TNF inhibitors (such as Remicade, Humira, Enbrel, Cimzia, or Simponi). People taking any of these combinations are at higher risk of infections.