Abatacept (Orencia)

Orencia (Abatacept) is a biologic medication used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, as well as some other types of arthritis.

Orencia is a synthetic protein that suppresses the body’s immune system. It prevents an important type of immune system cell, the T-cell, from turning on and becoming “activated”.

In patients whose arthritis is caused by their immune system attacking their own body’s tissues by mistake, Orencia helps to suppress the T-cell’s attack.

Methotrexate is commonly prescribed in combination with Orencia, which can improve a patient’s response.

Taking Orencia

Orencia is available as a weekly subcutaneous (under the skin) injection (Orencia SC) and a monthly intravenous infusion (Orencia IV).

The injection can be done quickly at home. The intravenous infusion is done in a specialized clinic.

Orencia often takes 6 to 8 weeks before patients start feeling any effects. Some patients may notice benefit right after the first dose, and with others it can take several weeks. It can take 3 to 6 months to feel a lot of benefit.

Important Tests and Risks




Watch Dr. Andy Thompson, a Canadian rheumatologist, introduce Orencia in this short video:


Orencia IV Quick Reference Guide


  • 02282097 (IV)
  • 02402475 (SC)