What is the most important information I should know about abatacept?
Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
What is abatacept?
Abatacept is used to treat symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and to prevent joint damage caused by these conditions. This medicine is for adults and children at least 2 years old.
Abatacept is also used to treat active psoriatic arthritis in adults.
Abatacept is not a cure for any autoimmune disorder and will only treat the symptoms of your condition.
Abatacept may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using abatacept?
You should not use abatacept if you are allergic to it.
Before using abatacept, tell your doctor if you have ever had tuberculosis, if anyone in your household has tuberculosis, or if you have recently traveled to an area where tuberculosis is common.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- a weak immune system;
- any type of infection including a skin infection or open sores;
- infections that go away and come back;
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease);
- hepatitis; or
- if you are scheduled to receive any vaccines.
Using abatacept may increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer such as lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). This risk may be greater in older adults. Talk to your doctor about your specific risk.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry to track the effects of abatacept on the baby.
Children using abatacept should be current on all childhood immunizations before starting treatment.
How should I use abatacept?
Before you start treatment with abatacept, your doctor may perform tests to make sure you do not have tuberculosis or other infections.
Abatacept is injected under the skin, or as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give your first dose and may teach you how to properly use the medication by yourself.
Abatacept is injected under the skin when given to a child between 2 and 6 years old.
Abatacept must be given slowly when injected into a vein, and the IV infusion can take at least 30 minutes to complete.
This medicine is usually given every 1 to 4 weeks. Follow your doctor's instructions.
Abatacept must be mixed with a liquid (diluent) before using it. When using injections by yourself, be sure you understand how to properly mix and store the medicine.
Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don't understand all instructions.
Prepare an injection only when you are ready to give it. Gently swirl but do not shake the medication bottle. Do not use if the medicine looks cloudy, has changed colors, or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.
Each vial (bottle) or prefilled syringe is for one use only. Throw it away after one use, even if there is still medicine left inside.
Use a needle and syringe only once and then place them in a puncture-proof "sharps" container. Follow state or local laws about how to dispose of this container. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using abatacept.
If you've ever had hepatitis B, using abatacept can cause this virus to become active or get worse. You may need frequent liver function tests while using this medicine and for several months after you stop.
Abatacept can cause false results with certain blood glucose tests, showing high blood sugar readings. If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor about the best way to test your blood sugar.
Autoimmune disorders are often treated with a combination of different drugs. Use all medications as directed and read all medication guides you receive. Do not change your dose or dosing schedule without your doctor's advice.
Store abatacept in original carton in a refrigerator. Protect from light and do not freeze. Do not use after the expiration date on the medicine label has passed.
If you need to travel with your medicine, place the syringes in a cooler with ice packs.
Abatacept mixed with a diluent may be stored in a refrigerator or at room temperature and must be used within 24 hours.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using abatacept?
Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using abatacept, and for at least 3 months after your treatment ends. The vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.
Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
What are the possible side effects of abatacept?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Some side effects may occur during the injection. Tell your caregiver right away if you feel dizzy, light-headed, itchy, or have a severe headache or trouble breathing within 1 hour after receiving the injection.
You may get infections more easily, even serious or fatal infections. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as:
- fever, chills, night sweats, flu symptoms, weight loss;
- feeling very tired;
- dry cough, sore throat; or
- warmth, pain, or redness of your skin.
Call your doctor at once if you have any of these other serious side effects:
- trouble breathing;
- stabbing chest pain, wheezing, cough with yellow or green mucus;
- pain or burning when you urinate; or
- signs of skin infection such as itching, swelling, warmth, redness, or oozing.
Common side effects may include:
- nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain;
- headache; or
- cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect abatacept?
Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:
- rituximab; or
This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect abatacept, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.
Where can I get more information?
Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about abatacept.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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