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Orencia is a medication that is doctors prescribe to help prevent the body's immune system from attacking itself as it does when a patient is suffering from an autoimmune disease. Orencia is one of the medications physicians often prescribe to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the joints. Orencia treats the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and slows the progression of joint damage and can improve overall joint function in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Physicians usually have patients try other arthritis medications prior to starting them on Orencia. A physician may prescribe more than one arthritis medication to treat a patient's symptoms. Patients can take Orencia with other arthritis medications while under a physician's supervision.
Orencia works by impacting the body's immune system and making the immunes system weaker. It is important for physician's planning to treat a patient with Orencia to be fully aware of a patient's medical history including chronic reoccurring infections such as tuberculosis or hepatitis. Patients should also tell their physicians if they suffer from COPD, diabetes, have other immune diseases such as HIV or a bone marrow disease, or if they currently have cancer or an open sore or cut.
Patients taking Orencia should not have vaccines while taking Orencia or within three months of stopping the medication. Children need to be current on all their childhood vaccinations prior to starting Orencia.
Patients must be careful about washing hands regularly to avoid infection and should take care to avoid people currently suffering from communicable illnesses such as chicken pox and the flu.
Orencia is a medication that physicians administer intravenously to patients in the physician's office. The dosage of medication given depends on the patient's weight. Patients receive the initial dose of medication and the wait two weeks for their second dose. Most patients receive an Orencia injection every four weeks after that or as their doctor recommends for the patient's treatment.
Most patients taking Orencia have few if any side effects from the medication. Common side effects of Orencia are nausea, dizziness, headache, flushed skin, stuffy head or nose and sometimes a cough will develop.
Rare but serious side effects of Orencia include shortness of breath, severe abdominal pain, change in the amount of urine or pain during urination. If any of these side effects are present, contact the prescribing physician immediately.
Additionally, patients using Orencia are more prone to developing infections. Contact the prescribing physician if any signs of infection develop. Signs of infection include fever, chills or persistent sore throat.
Orencia weakens the immune system. The immune system plays an important role in preventing and controlling cancer. Rarely, some patients develop cancer while taking Orencia. If a patient develops symptoms such as unusual lumps or growths, weight loss, wheezing or persistent coughing, contact the prescribing physician immediately.
Patients must inform their physicians of any medications they are taking in an effort to avoid any medication interactions. Patients currently taking any TNF blocking agents, or currently taking anakinra, which is another arthritis medication, should not take Orencia. Patients need to inform their physicians if they are taking other medications that weaken the immune system prior to starting Orencia.
Orencia can interfere with some laboratory tests. The interference with tests can lead to results that are false. Patients must inform laboratory technicians and all doctors they see that they are taking Orencia.
There is not much likelihood that a patient will overdose on Orencia. Patients receive the medication at the doctor's office so patients are not administering the medications themselves. In the unlikely situation where a patient receives too much Orencia, the doctor and staff on site are available for immediate medical intervention should it be necessary.
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