Abatacept, sold under the trade name Orencia, is a prescription medication for people suffering from autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (pJIA), or Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA). It helps reduce signs and symptoms caused by these painful inflammatory conditions.
Orencia can be self-administered at home by subcutaneous injections. It comes in the form of a prefilled syringe or a ClickJet Autoinjector pen.
It's a biological drug that's obtained from living sources. As such, Orencia is quite unstable and highly sensitive to extreme hot or cold temperatures, as well as exposure to light. It requires specific storage conditions to guarantee its effectiveness and safety for use.
While storing your Orencia pen or syringe at home should not raise any specific concerns, things can get trickier when you need to travel with it. Let’s dig in and find out how to keep Orencia refrigerated while traveling!
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Does Orencia need to be refrigerated?
Abatacept is one of the biological therapy drugs, also called biologics or biopharmaceuticals. These drugs are made from living sources (plants, animals, or humans). Because of that specificity, drugs like Orencia are unstable and very sensitive to temperature and light conditions.
Like similar drugs such as Humira, Enbrel, Actemra, Cimzia, Simponi, Taltz, Kevzara, or Cosentyx, for example, Orencia needs to be kept refrigerated. It can only be left at room temperature for a short period of time before it starts deteriorating.
Orencia refrigeration and storage instructions
According to Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, the Manufacturer of Orencia, you must “store ORENCIA in the refrigerator at 36 °F to 46 °F (2 °C to 8 °C) until you are ready to use. Be sure to keep ORENCIA in the original package and out of the light. DO NOT freeze ORENCIA”.
Make sure your home fridge is well-functioning, although most domestic fridges are programmed to maintain the 36 °F to 46 °F (2 °C to 8 °C) temperature range, so you should be fine.
Freezing temperatures can also damage your medications. To prevent your Orencia pens or syringes from freezing, do not store them near the freezer department of your fridge.
You should only remove your pens or syringes from the refrigerator when you're about to use them. Subcutaneous injections of cold medicines that have just been taken out of the fridge may be painful or unpleasant. It's recommended to take your dose out of the fridge 30 minutes before proceeding to the injection, so it warms up and reaches room temperature.
Related article: 10 Great Anti-inflammatory snacks for Rheumatoid Arthritis.
What happens if Orencia is left out of the fridge?
According to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Orencia is “stable for up to eight hours if left out of the fridge provided that it has been kept in normal light and at a temperature not exceeding 25°C”.
In other words, you should never leave your Orencia autoinjector pens or prefilled syringes out of the fridge for more than 8 hours. Abatacept that's been out of the fridge for more than 8 hours is not safe for use anymore. It's a biological drug and it can quickly deteriorate, lose its efficiency, and get contaminated.
Never use a prefilled syringe or a pen of Orencia that has been out of the fridge for more than 8 hours or exposed to temperatures above 77°F (25°C) even for a few minutes. When in doubt, immediately throw away the device and get a new one from the fridge.
These rigorous storage conditions make traveling with Orencia quite challenging. Fortunately, there are travel coolers that have been specially designed for people traveling with cold drugs.
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Orencia travel kits and cold cases
Traveling with chronic diseases, like Rheumatoid Arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, asthma, Crohn's disease, or others is always challenging. Besides the stress of never knowing when the pain will strike, it requires preplanning and organization, as well as emergency preparedness. On top of that, you now must worry about keeping your medication refrigerated while traveling. Don't worry, we’ve got you covered! Meet 4AllFamily’s medical-grade portable fridges.
4AllFamily’s travel coolers for Orencia
4AllFamily’s team designs travel coolers for people whose life depends on refrigerated medications. Our products range from pocket-size thermos-like cooling bottles to high-performing portable coolers that act like actual fridges to keep your Orencia pens and syringes refrigerated for multiples days (without power) or forever (with power).
Depending on your lifestyle and the kind of travel you're planning, you can choose from a wide range of products to accommodate your needs.
Our biogel cooling method uses freeze-packs to keep medicine refrigerated even when you won’t have access to electricity. It’s ideal for airplane travels, camping trips, or nature excursions for example.
Our USB power cooling method would better suit people who are traveling in conditions where they will be able to plug the cooler into a power source. Any power source would work including of course household power but also a car cigarette lighter, a travel power bank, and even a portable solar panel.
And some of our coolers even combine the two cooling solutions together! Last but not least, they're all TSA-approved for airplane travels so you can legally board the plane with your refrigerated meds in your carry-on bags.
We’re here to help. Should you have any doubts or inquiries, please leave us a comment in the section below or contact us.
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