Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Allergic reactions: In rare cases, some people may develop a serious allergic reaction to this medication. Signs of an allergic reaction include a severe rash, swollen face, chest pain, or difficulty breathing. If these occur, contact your doctor immediately. The needle cover on the prefilled syringe contains dry natural rubber that is similar to latex. Before you start injections, tell your doctor if you have an allergy to rubber or latex.
Asthma: People with asthma may have a greater chance of developing serious infections while taking anakinra. Speak to your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.
Blood problems: Rarely, people taking this medication have become deficient in certain types of blood cells. If you notice signs of an infection (fever, shaking or chills, fast heartbeat, or quick breathing) or bleeding (easy bruising, blood in the stools, black tarry stools, or vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds), seek immediate medical attention.
Cancer: People taking anakinra for rheumatoid arthritis in clinical trials developed cancer of the immune system (known as lymphoma) more often than compared to the general population. In general, people with severe rheumatoid arthritis who take medications that suppress the immune system over long periods of time have a higher risk of developing lymphoma, even if they don't take anakinra. The role of anakinra in developing cancer is not known.
Infections: There is an increased risk of serious infections in people who take anakinra. You should not take anakinra if you have a serious infection. It is not known if anakinra is safe for people with weak immune systems or chronic infections. If you notice signs of an infection such as fever, chills, pain, swelling, or pus, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Kidney problems: Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have decreased kidney function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Use with other biologics: This medication should not be used at the same time with a class of medications called biologic response modifiers ("biologics") or TNF blockers (e.g., adalimumab, etanercept, infliximab). Doing so could increase the risk of infections.
Vaccines: Live vaccines should not be given during treatment with anakinra.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if anakinra passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of this medication have not been established for children less than 18 years of age.
Seniors: Seniors may be more likely to experience serious infections with anakinra. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.