What Is Anakinra Used For?
People who have not responded to other medications for rheumatoid arthritis may see relief from symptoms with anakinra. This medication is also licensed to treat neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease. Occasionally, it can be used "off-label" for the treatment of uveitis and other conditions.
Anakinra (Kineret®) is a prescription medication that is approved for treating the following conditions:
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease (NOMID), a form of cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS).
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. This means that, for some reason, the immune system mistakes a person's own cells as invaders and attacks them, causing damage. Similar to 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.
Anakinra is a biological response modifier, which means 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.
Anakinra is approved for use in people who have unsuccessfully tried one or more DMARDs or biological response modifiers.
The medication can be used in combination with other rheumatoid medications, except adalimumab (Humira®), etanercept (Enbrel®), or infliximab (Remicade®). Taking anakinra with those medications increases the risk of infection and does not seem to provide any additional benefit.