Abatacept is used alone or in combination with other medications to reduce the pain, swelling, difficulty with daily activities, and joint damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis (a condition in which the body attacks its own joints causing pain, swelling, and loss of function) in patients who have not been helped by other medications. Abatacept is in a class of medications called selective costimulation modulators (immunomodulators). It works by blocking the activity of T-cells, a type of immune cell in the body that causes swelling and joint damage in people who have arthritis.
Abatacept comes as a powder to be mixed with sterile water and infused (injected slowly) intravenously (into a vein) by a doctor or nurse. It is usually given in a doctor's office every 2 weeks for the first three doses and then every 4 weeks. It will take about 30 minutes for you to receive your entire dose of abatacept.
Your doctor will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet to read before you receive each dose of abatacept. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor any questions you have.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
If you miss an appointment to receive an abatacept infusion, call your doctor as soon as possible.
arm or leg pain
swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, or throat
difficulty breathing or swallowing
shortness of breath
fever, chills, and other signs of infection
dry cough that doesn't go away
frequent urination or sudden need to urinate right away
burning during urination
cellulitis (red, hot, swollen area on the skin)
Abatacept may increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer including lymphoma (cancer that begins in the cells that fight infection). People who have had severe rheumatoid arthritis for a long time may have a greater than normal risk of developing these cancers even if they do not use abatacept. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication.
Abatacept may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
Your doctor will store the medication in his or her office.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Be sure to schedule appointments with your doctor well in advance so that you will be able to receive abatacept on schedule and at times that are convenient for you.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Revised - 02/11/2012
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2015. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.