Abatacept Now Approved for Children Ages 2-17 with PsA


In 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved abatacept for the treatment of moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis. Twelve years later, in 2017, the FDA expanded the drug’s approval to cover adults living with active psoriatic arthritis (PsA). But for children living with PsA, the therapeutic options have been limited. Until now.

According to reporting from Jason Laday in Healio, the FDA recently expanded the approval of abatacept (marketed under the brand name Orencia). The therapy is now approved for children ages two to seventeen years old. Abatacept’s expanded approval hinged on:

  • Study data evaluating abatacept in adults with psoriatic arthritis
  • Pharmacokinetic data of adults with rheumatoid arthritis or PsA
  • Additional pharmacokinetic data of children with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) who received subcutaneously administered abatacept

Now, children with PsA are finally able to receive treatment to reduce the impact of symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue, and overall stiffness.

Understanding Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune condition that causes joint inflammation and damage. Typically, people develop psoriasis first before later being diagnosed with PsA; however, in some scenarios, joint issues occur first. PsA can affect any joint in the body. It is also characterized by red skin patches with silvery scales. 40% of people with PsA have a family member with either psoriasis or arthritis, though the cause of PsA overall is largely unknown. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, which typically manifest between 30 to 50 years old, may include:

  • Generalized fatigue
  • Red skin with silvery scales
  • Nail pitting or separation from the nail bed
  • Uveitis or conjunctivitis (eye inflammation, redness, and pain)
  • Lower back pain
  • Morning stiffness
  • Swollen fingers and toes
  • Tendon pain, swelling, and tenderness
  • Joint pain, inflammation, tenderness, or stiffness
  • Reduced range of motion

There are no cures for psoriatic arthritis. Outside of Orencia, other treatments include steroid injections, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, NSAIDs, immunosuppressants, TNF-alpha inhibitors, and joint replacement surgery.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

Follow us