This medication is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, a condition in which the body's own defense system (immune system) attacks healthy tissue. This leads to swelling in the joints, which causes pain and makes it harder to move. Abatacept works by weakening your immune system. This effect helps to slow down joint damage and reduce joint pain and swelling so you can move better. This medication is also used to treat other types of arthritis (such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis).
Headache, nausea, or cold symptoms such as stuffy head/nose may occur. Pain, irritation, or swelling at/near the injection site may also occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Because abatacept works by weakening the immune system, it may lower your ability to fight infections. This may make you more likely to get a serious (rarely fatal) infection or make any infection you have worse. Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn't go away, fever, chills, cough). Rarely, patients using abatacept have developed cancer (such as lymphoma, lung/skin cancer). Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms such as unusual lumps/growths/skin changes, swollen glands, night sweats, unexplained weight loss, shortness of breath, wheezing. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
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