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Updated April 2019
Anakinra (brand name Kineret) belongs to a new class of medicines called biological disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (biological DMARDs). bDMARDs have now been given to over a million people worldwide since their initial use in the late 1990s.
These medicines block natural substances called cytokines, which are found in excessive amounts in the joints of people with rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile/childhood arthritis.
The increased levels of cytokines cause inflammation that results in symptoms of pain, joint swelling and stiffness, and can lead to joint damage. By blocking the cytokine called Interleukin 1, anakinra reduces inflammation, lessens the symptoms and helps stop further joint damage. Anakinra was removed from the PBS on 1 December 2010.
Anakinra is therefore not a government subsidised bDMARD for rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile arthritis.
Unlike standard antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), anakinra works relatively quickly and some relief of joint swelling, pain and stiffness may be noticed within the first 4 to 6 weeks.
If you stop anakinra treatment for more than a few days there is a risk that your condition will get worse again. Continue with your treatment unless advised by your doctor or unless side effects develop (see Side effects). If you stop anakinra for any reason you must contact your doctor.
In view of the current prescribing restrictions for all bDMARDs:
Anakinra is given as an injection under the skin of the abdomen or thigh. It can be injected by your doctor, nurse or carer, or by you. If injecting yourself, be sure to follow the detailed instructions carefully to ensure the best response. It is particularly important to change the injection site each time.
The usual dose for adults is 100mg once a day.
Anakinra may be used with other arthritis medicines including:
Anakinra cannot be used with other biological DMARDs.
There are separate information sheets for the medicines mentioned above.
You might experience side effects with your treatment. Contact your doctor if you have any concerns about possible side effects. Many side effects disappear when anakinra treatment is stopped.