Anakinra : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More
Why is this medication prescribed?
Anakinra is used, alone or in combination with other medications, to reduce pain and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Anakinra belongs to a class of drugs called interleukin antagonists. It works by blocking the activity of interleukin, a protein in the body that damages the joints.
How should this medicine be used?
Anakinra comes as a solution to inject subcutaneously (under the skin). It is usually injected once a day, at the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any parts you do not understand. Use anakinra exactly as directed. Do not use more or less or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Anakinra comes in pre-filled glass syringes. There are 7 syringes in each box, one for each day of the week. Use each syringe only once and inject all of the solution into the syringe. Even if there is still some solution in the syringe after the injection, do not inject yourself. Dispose of used syringes in a puncture resistant container. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how to dispose of the puncture resistant container.
Do not shake the pre-filled syringes. If the solution is foamy, let the syringe sit for a few minutes until it clears. Do not use a syringe if its contents look discolored or cloudy, or if there is something floating in it.
Anakinra can be injected into the outer thigh or into the stomach. If someone else is giving you the injection, you can inject into the back of your arms or into the buttocks. To reduce the chances of pain or redness, use a different site for each injection. You do not need to change your body part every day, but the new injection should be given about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) from the previous injection. Do not inject near a vein that you can see under the skin.
Before using anakinra for the first time, read the manufacturer’s accompanying patient information. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to show you how to inject anakinra.
To administer the injection, follow these steps:
- Clean the injection site with an alcohol wipe in a circular motion, starting from the middle and moving outward. Let the area dry completely.
- Hold the syringe and remove the needle cover by twisting the cover while pulling it out. Do not touch the needle.
- Hold the syringe in the hand you use to inject yourself. If possible, use the other hand to pinch a fold of skin at the injection site. Do not put the syringe in or allow the needle to touch anything.
- Hold the syringe between your thumb and fingers for constant control. Insert the needle into the skin with a short, quick motion at a 45 to 90 degree angle. The needle should be inserted at least halfway.
- Gently release the skin, but make sure the needle remains in your skin. Slowly push the plunger into the syringe until it stops.
- Remove the needle and do not recap it. Press a dry gauze pad (NOT an alcohol wipe) over the injection site.
- You can apply a small adhesive bandage over the injection site.
- Place the entire used syringe in a puncture resistant container.
It may take several weeks before you feel the full benefit of anakinra.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking anakinra,
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to anakinra, proteins made from bacterial cells (E. coli), latex, or any other medications.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: etanercept (Enbrel); infliximab (Remicade); and medications that suppress the immune system such as azathioprine (Imuran), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), sirolimus (Rapamune), and tacrolimus (Prograf). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you closely for side effects.
- Tell your doctor if you have an infection, asthma, HIV or AIDS infection, or kidney disease.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using anakinra, call your doctor.
- If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using anakinra.
- Don’t get vaccinated (for example, against measles or flu) without checking with your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not use a double dose to make up for the one you forgot.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Anakinra may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- redness, swelling, bruising, or pain at the site of injection
- runny nose
- stomach pain
Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:
- flu-like symptoms
- fever, sore throat, chills, and other signs of infection
- coughing, wheezing, or chest pain
- hot, red, swollen area on the skin
Anakinra can cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medicine.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit a report online to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep syringes and injection supplies out of the reach of children. Store anakinra syringes in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. Protect from light. Do not use a syringe that has been at room temperature for more than 24 hours.
Unnecessary medications must be disposed of in special ways to ensure they cannot be consumed by pets, children, and others. However, you should not flush this medicine down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medications is through a drug take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage / recycling department to find out about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA Safe Drug Disposal website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children, since many containers (such as those containing weekly pills and those for eye drops, creams, patches and inhalers) are not resistant to children and small children can easily open them. To protect young children from poisoning, always close the safety caps and immediately place the medicine in a safe place, one that is upright and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or cannot wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain laboratory tests before and during treatment to check your body’s response to anakinra.
Don’t let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you every time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.
Disclaimer: We have made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.