Orencia: see which active ingredient and how this remedy acts

Medicines are being improved more and more thanks to advances in medicine and technology. 

An example of this is the drug Orencia, which can guarantee more quality of life for many people who suffer from joint discomfort caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis .

What is Orencia and what is it for?

Orencia is a biological medicine used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in moderate to severe stages. Its goal is to decrease the pain and swelling in the joints that are caused by RA.

In addition, it helps to reduce damage to the joints, allowing patients to be better able to continue with their normal activities.

It is also recommended for children (over 6 years old) and adolescents who have Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) who have not responded to other forms of treatment (such as the use of methotrexate or tumor necrosis factor antagonists).

It can also be used to combat the symptoms of Active Psoriatic Arthritis (PHC), when the patient has not shown a response to treatment with methotrexate and does not require therapy for skin lesions.

This medicine is administered intravenously, that is, it is applied to the vein in a hospital environment and under the supervision of a health professional. The application takes about 30 minutes.

Active ingredient: how does Abatacept act?

Orencia’s active ingredient is Abatacept. This substance can be used as a single form of treatment or in conjunction with other remedies.

Abatacept has been tested in 6 different studies on patients over 18 years of age who have rheumatoid arthritis. In total, the studies took more than 7 years.

To prove its effectiveness, the research volunteers had to suffer from at least 10 swollen and painful joints.

Abatacept acts by inhibiting the attack of the immune system on healthy body tissues, which, in consequence, reduces symptoms caused by RA (such as pain, swelling and difficulty in movement) in most cases.

How to use the medicine Orencia?

Orencia can be presented in two ways: intravenous (application in the vein) and subcutaneous injection (application under the skin). When the recommended version is intravenous, the drug should always be applied by a health professional, such as nurses and doctors, who are prepared to perform this function.

If the version indicated is subcutaneous, Orencia will be applied subcutaneously, and can be done by the person himself. For that, it is necessary to have a training for the administration, by the doctor (a) or health professional.

This remedy must be kept in refrigerators, with the temperature varying between 2 ° C and 8 ° C.

Can Orencia be applied at home?

The intravenous version cannot be applied at home unless it is extremely necessary (when the person is unable to go to the hospital or medical clinic, usually in patients under palliative treatment), provided that it is done by health professionals.

In this case, the medical team must go to the residence and apply the medication in an environment that must be clean (to avoid infection).

But recently, a version of Orencia has been launched on the market that is applied subcutaneously.

In this case, the first application should be made at the hospital. If the medical team deems it possible for another person to self-administer or administer it at home, the medication may be taken at home. For this, the person will receive specific guidance and training by qualified professionals.

Do not attempt to apply this drug without proper instruction from a healthcare professional.

What is the dosage indicated on the package leaflet?

Doses for intravenous use of this medicine are given every 4 weeks. Orencia should be administered according to the patient’s body weight, always according to medical advice.

In the case of subcutaneous administration, it is necessary to talk and receive specific medical instructions. In the package insert, the guidelines for dosing by intravenous infusion are:

  • Adults with rheumatic arthritis (RA): 
Body weight  Dose 
Less than 60kg 500mg
Between 60kg and 100kg 750mg
More than 100kg 1g
  • Children and adolescents with infantile idiopathic arthritis (aged 6 to 17 years): 
Body weight  Dose 
Less than 75kg 10 mg for each kg
But of 75kg adult posology

The package insert indicates that there is no need to make adjustments to the dosage for elderly patients, and it is recommended to follow the guidelines for adults.

What are the side effects?

Among the most common side effects caused by Orencia are headache , dizziness , infections (respiratory and urinary), increased blood pressure, cough , diarrhea , feeling sick, tiredness and loss of appetite.

In unusual frequency, Orencia can also cause:

  • Insomnia;
  • Crises of depression and anxiety;
  • Low pressure;
  • Absence or delay of menstruation;
  • Inflammation in the digestive system;
  • Lack of air;
  • Decreased heart rate;
  • Skin tumors.

It is worth mentioning that this medicine contains sugar (maltose) and therefore should be used with caution in people who have diabetes .

Any side effect must be reported to the medical or professional team accompanying the treatment.

Contraindications

This medication should not be administered to patients who are allergic to Abatacept (active ingredient) or any other component of the Orencia formula.

Children (under 6 years old) should also not be medicated with such a drug, as there are not enough studies to indicate the consequences of Abatacept at this age. In addition, pregnant women should not use it without medical advice.

Orencia affects the immune system?

Yes, Orencia can decrease the action of the immune system, allowing the body to contract infections or aggravate existing conditions. If you suspect an infection or are using medication for immunity, the ideal is to talk to the doctor (a) who accompanies your case.

Price and where to buy?

Orencia has average prices ranging from R $ 2,477.68 * (box with 1 ampoule of 250mg) to R $ 8,872.08 * (box with 4 ampoules of 125mg each).

* Prices consulted in December 2019. Prices may change.

Does SUS provide Abatacepte?

Yes, the Unified Health System (SUS) offers Abatacept free of charge. To obtain this right, the patient needs a medical report that proves the need for the drug.

If even with the clinical indication the medication is not released, it is necessary to file a case that requires a huge amount of paperwork, including reports, exams and the budget of 3 pharmacies.

The good news is that you can count on the help of the High Cost Drug Quote Advisory, which makes a personalized quote.

It is very simple and easy. Access the link and fill in your details.


Intravenous orencia is a medicine for hospital use and therefore should only be applied by healthcare professionals.

Like other medications, it can cause adverse effects. Its action is on the immune system, helping to combat pain and swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

Want to know more about medicines ? Read the Minute Healthy posts.

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