Treats moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adults who have taken other medicines for RA. Also treats moderate to severe juvenile idiopathic arthritis in children 6 years of age and older.
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to abatacept.
How to Use This Medicine
- A nurse or other trained health professional will give you or your child this medicine. This medicine is given as a shot under your skin or into a vein.
- You may be taught how to give your medicine at home. Make sure you understand all instructions before giving yourself an injection. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- You will be shown the body areas where this shot can be given. Use a different body area each time you give yourself a shot. Keep track of where you give each shot to make sure you rotate body areas.
- Use a new needle and syringe each time you inject your medicine.
- If the medicine in the prefilled syringe has changed color, or if you see particles in it, do not use it.
- This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
If a dose is missed:
- Call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- If you store this medicine at home, keep it in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine, containers, and other supplies. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
- Throw away used needles in a hard, closed container that the needles cannot poke through. Keep this container away from children and pets.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using adalimumab (Humira®), anakinra (Kineret®), certolizumab (Cimzia®), etanercept (Enbrel®), golimumab (Simponi®), infliximab (Remicade®), rituximab (Rituxan®), or tocilizumab (Actemra®).
- Talk to your doctor before getting flu shots or other vaccines while you are receiving this medicine. Vaccines may not work as well, or they could make you ill while you are using this medicine.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have cancer, breathing or lung problems (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD), any kind of infection (such as hepatitis B, tuberculosis), or if you are scheduled to have surgery.
- Abatacept injection may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have a rash; itching; swelling of the face, tongue, and throat; trouble with breathing; lightheadedness or fainting; or chest pain after you receive the medicine.
- Your body's ability to fight infection may be reduced while you are being treated with this medicine. Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you or your child have any of the following symptoms while using this medicine: fever, chills, cough or hoarseness, flu-like symptoms, lower back or side pain, painful or difficult urination, or unusual tiredness or weakness.
- You or your child will need to have a skin test for tuberculosis before you start using this medicine. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your home has ever had a positive reaction to a tuberculosis skin test.
- This medicine contains maltose (a type of sugar) which may affect blood sugar levels. If you or your child have diabetes and you notice a change in the results of your blood sugar tests or if you have any questions, check with your doctor. Your doctor may need you to use a different test for your blood sugar levels.
- Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Change in how much or how often you urinate, painful urination.
- Dizziness, drowsiness, or lightheadedness.
- Fast, slow, or pounding heartbeat.
- Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and body aches.
- Muscle pain and stiffness, weakness, or sweating.
- Shortness of breath or troubled breathing.
- Unusual tiredness or weakness.
- Weight loss.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Back, leg, or arm pain.
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or upset stomach.
- Pain, itching, burning, redness, swelling, or a lump under your skin where the shot is given.
- Rash or blisters.
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013
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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013