What Is Abatacept Used For?
People who have not responded well to other medications for rheumatoid arthritis may find relief with abatacept. The medication is not approved for treating juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, however. Occasionally, healthcare providers may recommend the drug for treating other conditions. "Off-label" uses for abatacept may include the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means that, for some reason, the immune system mistakes a person's own cells as invaders and attacks them, causing damage. As with other autoimmune diseases, scientists still do not know the causes of rheumatoid arthritis.
There are many rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, including chronic pain, along with tender, warm and swollen joints. Treatment usually includes medications. There are four different types of rheumatoid arthritis medication, including:
- Analgesics (pain relievers), including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
- Biological response modifiers.
Abatacept is a biological response modifier, which means that it targets (and "modifies") specific parts of the immune system. Biological response modifiers are commonly used to treat:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Crohn's disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Some types of cancer.
The medication is approved for use in people who have unsuccessfully tried DMARDs or other biological response modifiers.