Orencia Warnings and Precautions

It's important to understand precautions and warnings with Orencia before taking it to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Prior to taking the drug, let your healthcare provider know if you have any allergies, infections, COPD, or a history of hepatitis B or tuberculosis. You should not take Orencia if you are allergic to any components used to make the medication.

Orencia: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Orencia® (abatacept) if you have:
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you:
  • Are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Test your blood sugar regularly (usually for diabetes).
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Precautions and Warnings With Orencia

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Orencia include the following:
  • Orencia can increase your chance of infections, including serious infections. You should not start the medication if you have an infection (even a skin infection). While taking Orencia, tell your healthcare provider right away if you think you may have any infection. The drug may not be the best choice for people who get frequent infections.
  • Orencia can cause certain infections that have become inactive in the body (such as hepatitis B or tuberculosis) to become active again. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had hepatitis B or tuberculosis before starting treatment.
  • Allergic reactions can occur with Orencia. These reactions include:
    • Rashes
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
    • Unusual swelling.
Let your healthcare provider know right away if you think you are having an allergic reaction to Orencia.
  • Studies have suggested that Orencia may worsen chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If you have COPD, your healthcare provider should monitor you carefully to make sure your condition is not getting worse.
  • Orencia contains maltose, which can interfere with some blood glucose monitors. In particular, this affects test strips that contain glucose dehydrogenase pyrroloquinolinequinone (GDH-PQQ). If you can't tell if your test strips contain GDH-PQQ, your healthcare provider can help you find out. Orencia can cause these test strips to report falsely high blood sugar readings on the day of your Orencia dosage. You may want to consider using a glucose monitor that does not contain GDH-PQQ.
  • Orencia is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy (see Orencia and Pregnancy).
  • It is not known if Orencia passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, talk to your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Orencia and Breastfeeding).
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