Abatacept has been evaluated for rheumatoid arthritis in several different studies. In these studies, the drug was given to people who had unsuccessfully tried various other rheumatoid arthritis medications. People who took abatacept had fewer tender or swollen joints and were better able to perform their usual daily activities (such as walking, eating, or dressing), compared to people who did not take it. The medication also slowed down structural damage to the joints.
Because abatacept targets a specific part of the immune system, it is called a "biological response modifier"; it changes (modifies) the body's immune response. It is also known as a "biologic" medication because it is made out of parts of cells or proteins.
General considerations for when and how to take this medication include the following:
- Abatacept is taken by IV. The first three doses are given every two weeks; after that, they are given once every four weeks.
- You will probably receive your dose at your healthcare provider's office or at an infusion center. The IV takes about 30 minutes, but the entire process usually lasts longer, due to paperwork, waiting, and preparation for the IV.
- For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Abatacept will not work if you stop taking it.
The dose of abatacept your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
- Your weight
- Other medications you may be taking
- Other medical conditions you may have.
As is always the case, do not adjust your dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.
(Click Abatacept Dosing for more information.)