Medication Monitor

Generic Name (Trade Name—Company)
August 2, 2011


(Orencia—Bristol-Myers Squibb)
Self-injection now possible


Management of rheumatoid arthritis

A self-injectable subcutaneous formulation of abatacept has been approved for adult patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a press release from the manufacturer. The drug was originally approved as an IV infusion. Data from a Phase III, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, multinational study involving 1,457 patients with moderately-to-severely active RA showed that subcutaneous administration of abatacept demonstrated similar efficacy and safety to the IV formulation at month 6.

Both formulations resulted in a similar frequency of injection site reactions (2.6% subcutaneous vs. 2.5% IV), and patient retention rates were similar in both groups at 6 months (94%). The new fixed-dose 125-mg subcutaneous injection is administered weekly. Treatment-naive patients who can tolerate an infusion should receive an IV loading dose of 10 mg/kg before starting weekly injections. The product will be available in September.