Belatacept, also known and sold under the trade name of Nulojix, is a medicine that belongs to the group of drugs known as immunosuppresses. It is used in combination with other medicines in order to prevent the body from rejecting the organ transplant.
It is most commonly used in kidney transplantation. When a kidney transplantation is done, the body recognizes the organ transplant as not his own, and because of that, the white blood cells try to reject it.
Belatacept works by suppressing the immune system of the body – the white blood cells not to reject the transplant. The therapy with Belatacept can be only prescribed by a doctor.
2 What to Know Before Using
Your doctor will inform you of what you need to know before using Nulojix. As always, before the treatment is allowed, the benefits from this medicine must outweigh the potential risks.
It is very important to inform your doctor about:
Allergies – Tell your doctor if you have used this medicine in the past, and if that medicine has occurred an allergic reaction. Also, inform your doctor if you are allergic to any other medications. Tell your healthcare professional if you are allergic to any specific food, dye, animals, fabric and etc.
Pediatric – There are no studies that confirm the benefits and potential risks if this medicine is used in pediatric patients, because of that the safety from its using it is not guaranteed.
Geriatric – It is confirmed that this medicine has not any specific risks or side effects if used in geriatric patients, different from its usage in young adults.
Pregnancy – Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or have any plans about pregnancy in the near future. There aren’t any studies that confirm the benefits and potential risks if this medicine is used during pregnancy, because of that it should be used only if it is needed and any medicines have shown themselves as inefficient.
Breastfeeding – Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. There are no studies that confirm the effects of this medicine on infants and because of that, it should be only used if the benefits outweigh the potential risks of the treatment with Belatacept while breastfeeding.
Other medicines – There are always the risks if some medicines are used in a combination with others. Tell your doctor if you are using any other medicines, prescribed or no prescribed.
Other interactions – Make sure to get yourself informed if any special diet is needed, as well as if there are potential risks if tobacco or alcohol are used at the time of treatment with this medicine.
Other medical problems – Inform your doctor about your medical history, any other medical problems and symptoms if present. Especially, tell your doctor if there is a cytomegalovirus infection, other infections ( e.g. bacteria, fungus or virus ) or a tuberculosis infection present at the moment.
Proper usage of Nulojix requires strict adherence to your doctor’s orders. This medication is given intravenously by a healthcare professional or you can apply it yourself following proper directions.
The dose is directed by the doctor according to your condition, symptoms, age, and weight. If under any circumstances, you need to apply for the medicine yourself, you should get proper directions from the healthcare professional.
Do not increase the dose yourself. If you happen to miss a dose, do not double it. Contact your doctor for a new dose schedule. If an overdose is suspected, contact your doctor right away.
4 Precautions to Take
Before using Nulojix, there are some precautions you must take. Make sure you visit your doctor regularly in the scheduled appointments to inform him about the prognosis of your condition.
Tell your doctor if you notice any potential side effects or if your condition gets worse.
Tell your doctor about any allergies to medicines, as well as your medical history.
Because there are no studies that confirm the effects of Belatacept on pediatric patients, you should inform the doctor if you have any plans about pregnancy in the near future or you are currently pregnant.
Using Belatacept increases the risk of serious conditions e.g. post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder or progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy.
You should not use this medicine if you are Epstein - Barr virus negative.
This medicine also increases the risk of potential skin cancer to occur.
You should not get immunizations (vaccines) while you use this medicine.
After you stop the treatment, consult with your doctor if you need to get any vaccines, because in the time of the treatment your body’s resistance decreases.
5 Potential Side Effects
Make sure you meet with your doctor in using Nulojix to avoid unwanted potential side effects. Although this medicine has proven very efficient in the treatment with organ transplantation, especially kidney transplantation, its usage has potential side effects.
Make sure to inform your doctor if you notice any side effects:
The possibility of an allergic reaction to this medicine is very rare, but if you notice any symptoms e.g. rash, itching, swelling, trouble breathing and dizziness inform your doctor right away.
In the time of using this medicine, the ability of your body to fight infections may be decreased, because of that, infections may occur more often. Tell your doctor if you notice chills, fever, cough or a sore throat.
The immune system of the body is important in the prevention of cancer. With its decreased ability to protect the body, the possibility of cancer is very common. Tell your doctor if you notice any new skin lesion or bump, night sweats, swollen glands or unexplained weight loss.
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