(BPT) - Following a long, cold winter that saw heavy snowfall and low temperatures around the country, Americans are finally thawing out and taking full advantage of the sunshine and summer weather. Whether they are driving to a barbeque, having a picnic or playing with their children or pets outside - people are finding ways to be outdoors. Summer is officially here.
But for some people with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA), walking outside on flat ground and getting in and out of a car to go to a barbeque can be a challenge.
'Before my moderate to severe RA, I loved spending my summers playing and coaching at the softball and baseball fields,' said Shannon, who has been a moderate to severe RA patient for several years. 'Unfortunately, the pain and swelling that came as a result of my moderate to severe RA made it difficult to even get off the bench.'
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune inflammatory disease marked by pain, swelling, stiffness, and reduced function of the joints. For moderate to severe RA patients, the disease can make some daily activities difficult.
Moderate to severe RA can strike at any age, and it's about three times as common in women as in men. However, there are treatments that can help relieve RA symptoms. Treating moderate to severe RA early and appropriately can help manage this progressive disease. Treatment options for moderate to severe RA include biologic medicines, which help reduce inflammation and joint damage.
'When managing my patients with moderate to severe RA, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are key,' said Alan Epstein, M.D., Pennsylvania Rheumatology Associates, PC. 'There are a number of biologic therapies approved for use in the U.S., including one called ORENCIA, which is approved for patients with moderate to severe RA. I encourage you to speak to your rheumatologist right away if you experience RA symptoms like pain, stiffness and swelling in your joints, and work with your doctor to identify the most appropriate therapy for you.'
ORENCIA® (abatacept) is a prescription medicine that reduces signs and symptoms in adults with moderate to severe RA, including those who have not been helped enough by other medicines for RA. ORENCIA may prevent further damage to your bones and joints and may help your ability to perform daily activities. In adults, ORENCIA may be used alone or with other RA treatments other than tumor necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists. ORENCIA can cause serious side effects including serious infections. ORENCIA can make you more likely to get infections or make the infection that you have get worse. Some patients have died from these infections. Call your healthcare provider immediately if you feel sick or get any of the following signs of infection: fever; feel very tired; cough; feel flu-like; or warm, red or painful skin. Please read about additional Important Safety Information below.
As is the case with most diseases, no one treatment works for everyone with moderate to severe RA.
Your rheumatologist can help determine which therapy or combination of therapies may be appropriate for your individual needs.
If your moderate to severe RA is leaving you on the sidelines, then make an appointment and talk to your rheumatologist about which treatment might work best for you.
For more information, visit www.ORENCIA.com.
Important Safety Information
Inform your healthcare provider of the following, before you receive treatment with ORENCIA® (abatacept):
Infections:If you have any kind of infection even if it is small (such as an open cut or sore), an infection that is in your whole body (such as the flu), an infection that will not go away, or a history of infections that keep coming back. ORENCIA may make your immune system less able to fight infections, so you may be more likely to get infections or any infection you have may get worse.
Tuberculosis:If you have had tuberculosis (TB), a positive skin test for TB, or if you recently have been in close contact with someone who has had TB. If you get any of the symptoms of TB (a cough that does not go away, weight loss, fever, night sweats), call your healthcare provider right away.
Before you start ORENCIA, your healthcare provider may examine you for TB or perform a skin test.
If you have or have had Viral Hepatitis. Before you use ORENCIA, your healthcare provider may examine you for hepatitis.
If you have a history of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary (lung) Disease (COPD).
If you are scheduled to have Surgery.
Allergies to the Ingredients of ORENCIA:The ingredients of intravenous (IV) ORENCIA are: abatacept, maltose, monobasic sodium phosphate, and sodium chloride for administration. The ingredients of subcutaneous (SC) ORENCIA are: abatacept, sucrose, poloxamer 188, monobasic sodium phosphate monohydrate, dibasic sodium phosphate anhydrous, and water for injection.
Vaccinations:If you have recently received a vaccination or are scheduled for any vaccination. If you are receiving ORENCIA, and for 3 months after you stop receiving ORENCIA, you should not take live vaccines.
Diabetes:If you have diabetes and use a blood glucose monitor to check your sugar levels. The infusionof ORENCIA contains maltose, a sugar that can give falsely high blood glucose readings with some monitors on the day you receive your infusion. Your healthcare provider may tell you to use a different way to monitor your blood sugar levels. ORENCIA for SC injection does not contain maltose; therefore, you do not need to change the way you monitor your blood sugar if you are taking ORENCIA subcutaneously.
Pregnancy:If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are thinking about becoming pregnant. It is not known if ORENCIA can harm your unborn baby.
Breastfeeding:You will need to decide to either breastfeed or receive treatment with ORENCIA, but not both.
If you Take Any Other Kinds of Medicine, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
If you are Taking Other Biologic Medicines to Treat RAsuch as: Enbrel® (etanercept), Humira®(adalimumab), Remicade® (infliximab), Kineret® (anakinra), Rituxan® (rituximab), Simponi® (golimumab), Cimzia® (certolizumab pegol), or Actemra® (tocilizumab). You may have a higher chance of getting a serious infection if you take ORENCIA with other biologic medicines.
Possible Side Effects of ORENCIA® (abatacept)
ORENCIA can cause serious side effects including:
- Serious infections.ORENCIA can make you more likely to get infections or make the infection that you have get worse. Some patients have died from these infections. Call your healthcare provider immediately if you feel sick or get any of the following signs of infection: fever; feel very tired; cough; feel flu-like; or warm, red or painful skin.
- Allergic reactions.Allergic reactions can happen to people who use ORENCIA. Call your healthcare provider or get emergency medical help right away if you have any symptoms of an allergic reaction, which may include hives; swollen face, eyelids, lips, tongue; or trouble breathing.
- Hepatitis B infection.If you are a carrier of the hepatitis B virus (a virus that affects the liver), the virus can become active while you use ORENCIA. Your healthcare provider may do a blood test before you start or while using ORENCIA.
- You should not receive ORENCIA with certain types of vaccines. ORENCIA may cause some vaccinations to be less effective.
- Respiratory problems in patients with COPD.You may get certain respiratory problems more often if you receive ORENCIA and have COPD, including: worsened COPD, cough, or trouble breathing.
- Cancer (malignancies).Certain kinds of cancer have been reported in patients receiving ORENCIA. It is not known if ORENCIA increases your chance of getting certain kinds of cancer.
Common side effectswith ORENCIA are headache, upper respiratory tract infection, sore throat, and nausea.
Note concerning ORENCIA SC:It is not known if ORENCIA for SC injection is safe and effective in children under 18 years of age.
Please read the Patient Information in the Full Prescribing Information,http://packageinserts.bms.com/pi/pi_orencia.pdf.
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ORENCIA is a registered trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.