Kineret® is a brand name for the generic medication anakinra. It is prescribed, often in conjunction with other medications, to relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), such as painful and swollen joints. Patients may typically try this drug after other RA medications have proven unsuccessful. Kineret® is classified as an interleukin antagonist, which means that it works by interfering with the actions of interleukin, a protein naturally found in the body that causes joint damage. This helps suppress the response of the immune system to alleviate inflammation.
There is no form of Kineret® that may be taken orally. Patients must inject the medication subcutaneously, or under the skin. The patient will receive a set of seven prefilled syringes, which will last for seven days. He will be given specific instructions on how to administer the injections. The doctor will likely have him perform the first injection under supervision to ensure safety.
Before using Kineret®, patients must carefully check the syringe. When the solution appears foamy, the syringe needs to sit for several minutes to settle. Patients should never use Kineret® if it appears discolored or if it has visible particles floating in it. The injection may be given in the stomach or the outer thigh, and a different injection site should be used each day. Patients should never administer a shot in an area of skin that is broken, red, or otherwise abnormal.
The patient will first wipe the area of skin with an alcohol swab to disinfect it. He may then twist the protective cover off the needle, but should not allow his fingers or anything else to touch the needle. One hand should be used to pinch up a fold of the sterilized skin, while the other hand inserts the needle at about a 45 to 90 degree angle, using a quick, short movement.
Patients must insert the needle at least halfway, after which they should release the fold of skin. They can then press the plunger down all the way to administer the medication. The needle is then removed and a square of dry gauze is pressed gently onto the injection site. Each used syringe should be disposed of in a puncture-proof container.
Kineret® may cause some side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, and headache. Mild redness, swelling, or pain at the injection site may occur, along with a runny nose and mild stomach pain. More serious side effects warrant a doctor's immediate care, such as a rash, chest pain, and wheezing. Flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, chills, and a sore throat may also occur.
Not all RA patients may be able to use Kineret®. It is contraindicated for those who have a bone marrow disease, a suppressed immune system, or kidney disease. Those who have recently had a live vaccination, an active infection, or those who take certain other RA medications may also be unable to use it. Patients must disclose their other medications, supplements, and other medical conditions to the prescribing physician.