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.
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.
The manufacturer of Orencia offers a support program to Canadian patients that are prescribed the medication:Patient support program enrolment forms
Important Tests and Risks
Watch Dr. Andy Thompson, a Canadian rheumatologist, introduce Orencia in this short video:
Drug Identification Number (DIN)