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Precautions and Warnings With Abatacept

Talking to your healthcare provider about abatacept warnings and precautions can help ensure safe treatment and minimize risks. You should not take the medication if you are allergic to any components of abatacept. Before starting treatment, tell your healthcare provider if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, any infections, or any disease that weakens the immune system.

Abatacept: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking abatacept (Orencia®) 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 Warnings and Precautions With Abatacept

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking abatacept include the following:
  • Abatacept 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 abatacept, 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.
  • Abatacept 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 abatacept. These reactions include rashes, hives, itching, wheezing or difficulty breathing, and unusual swelling. Let your healthcare provider know right away if you think you are having an allergic reaction to abatacept.
  • Studies have suggested that abatacept 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.
  • Abatacept 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. Abatacept can cause these test strips to report falsely high blood sugar readings on the day of your dose. You may want to consider using a glucose monitor that does not contain GDH-PQQ.
  • Abatacept 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 abatacept 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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