Anakinra May Help Ease the Pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • rheumatoid arthritis image Anakinra (Kineret) is FDA-approved to treat adults with pain and swelling caused by moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who have not found relief from other treatments.
  • How Does Anakinra Work?

    Anakinra blocks the action of the protein interleukin-1 (IL-1). IL-1 is produced in excessive amounts in people with RA. High levels of IL-1 contribute to the joint pain, swelling, and stiffness of RA. By blocking IL-1, anakinra can help reduce these symptoms.
    You may need to take anakinra for several weeks before your RA symptoms begin to improve.
  • How Should I Take This Medicine?

    Anakinra is given once a day as an injection. If you are prescribed anakinra, the doctor or nurse will teach you how to give yourself the injection so that you can do it at home.
  • What Are the Side Effects?

    The main side effect of this drug is mild redness, swelling, and pain at the injection site. Other side effects include:
    • Infections (anakinra suppresses the immune system)
    • Headache
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea
    • Flu-like symptoms
    • Abdominal pain
    • Low white blood cell count
  • Who Should Not Take Anakinra?

    Anakinra is not for everyone with RA. Talk to your doctor before taking anakinra if you:
    • Have a fever or think you may have an infection
    • Are taking certain medicines, including TNF blockers (eg, adalimumab, etanercept, infliximab)
    • Are allergic to proteins made from bacteria cells or any ingredient in the medicine
    • Have a latex allergy
    • Have asthma , HIV or AIDS , or kidney disease
    • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
    If you are prescribed anakinra, there are other precautions that you should take, such as:
    • Telling your doctor or dentist that you are taking anakinra before you have a procedure
    • Talking to your doctor before you have a live virus vaccine
    If you have tried other RA medicines and have not had any relief from your symptoms, talk to your doctor to find out if anakinra is a good option for you.

    US Food and Drug Administration

    Arthritis Foundation


    The Arthritis Society

    Canadian Pharmacists Association


    American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Anakinra. PubMed Health website. Available at: . Updated February 1, 2009. Accessed September 12, 2012.

    Anakinra (Kineret) FDA approved for use in rheumatoloid arthritis. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at: . Updated November 2001. Accessed September 12, 2012.

    Bresnihan, B, Alvara-Gracia, JM, Cobby, M, et al. Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with recombinant human IL-1 receptor antagonist. Arthritis Rheum 1998; 41:2196.

    Anakinra. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Updated December 14, 2011. Accessed September 12, 2012.

    Fleischmann, RM, Schechtman, J, Bennett, R, et al. Anakinra, a recombinant human interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (r-metHuIL-1ra), in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A large, international, multicenter, placebo-controlled trial. Arthritis Rheum 2003; 48:927.

    Patient information on anakinra. Austrailian Rheumatology Association website. Available at: . Updated September 2011. Accessed September 12, 2012.

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