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Home / Drugs / Starting with A / Abatacept

Abatacept is a soluble fusion protein, which links the extracellular domain of human cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) to the modified Fc (hinge, CH2, and CH3 domains) portion of human immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1). It is produced through recombinant DNA technology in mammalian cells. The drug has activity as a selective costimulation modulator with inhibitory activity on T lymphocytes. Although approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, Repligen has entered a slightly different formulation of CTLA4-Ig into clinical trials (RG2077).
Orencia (Bristol-Myers Squibb)
CategoriesAntirheumatic Agents
PackagersBristol-Myers Squibb Co.
Celltrion Inc.
E.R. Squibb and Sons LLC


For the management of the signs and symptoms of moderate-to-severe active rheumatoid arthritis, inducing major clinical response, slowing the progression of structural damage, and improving physical function in adult patients. It is indicated both as a monotherapy and for use in combination with a continued regimen of DMARDs (not including TNF antagonists). Also used for the management of the signs and symptoms of moderately to severely active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis in children.


Abatacept is the first in a new class of drugs known as Selective Co-stimulation Modulators. Known as a recombinant fusion protein, the drug consists of the extracellular domain of human cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) linked to a modified Fc portion of human immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1. The Fc portion of the drug consists of the hinge region, the CH2 domain, and the CH3 domain of IgG1. Although there are multiple pathways and cell types involved in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis, evidence suggests that T-cell activation may play an important role in the immunopathology of the disease. Ordinarily, full T-cell activation requires binding of the T-cell receptor to an antigen-MHC complex on the antigen-presenting cell as well as a co-stimulatory signal provided by the binding of the CD28 protein on the surface of the T-cell with the CD80/86 proteins on the surface of the antigen-presenting cell. CTLA4 is a naturally occurring protein which is expressed on the surface of T-cells some hours or days after full T-cell activation and is capable of binding to CD80/86 on antigen-presenting cells with much greater affinity than CD28. Binding of CTLA4-Ig to CD80/86 provides a negative feedback mechanism which results in T-cell deactivation. Abatacept was developed by Bristol-Myers-Squibb and is licensed in the US for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis in the case of inadequate response to anti-TNF-alpha therapy.

mechanism of action

Abatacept is a selective costimulation modulator, like CTLA-4, the drug has shown to inhibit T-cell (T lymphocyte) activation by binding to CD80 and CD86, thereby blocking interaction with CD28. Blockade of this interaction has been shown to inhibit the delivery of the second co-stimulatory signal required for optimal activation of T-cells. This results in the inhibition of autoimmune T-Cell activation that has been implcated in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis.


Doses up to 50 mg/kg have been administered without apparent toxic effect.

half life

16.7 (12-23) days in healthy subjects, 13.1 (8-25) days in RA subjects.

drug interactions

Thalidomide: Thalidomide may increase the adverse effects of Abatacept. Increased risk of serious infection. Concomitant therapy should be avoided.

Trastuzumab: Trastuzumab may increase the risk of neutropenia and anemia. Monitor closely for signs and symptoms of adverse events.