Kineret (Anakinra)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: May 2023

Kineret is an engineered biologic drug that is approved for use against rheumatoid arthritis.

It reduces the signs and symptoms of RA and slows the structural damage that occurs in adults with moderately to severely active RA who have failed one or more disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Kineret can be used alone or with other medications.

Kineret is used less commonly than other biologic drugs because it isn’t as effective as anti-TNF therapies. It also requires a daily injection, which is not appealing to many people with RA.2

Kineret is not available in generic forms.

What are the ingredients in Kineret?

The active ingredient in Kineret is anakinra.1

How does Kineret work?

Kineret is known as an interleukin antagonist, because it blocks interleukin-1 (IL-1), a protein that plays an important role in promoting inflammation and immune system cell functions that cause joint damage for patients with RA.1

What are the possible side effects?

Common side effects with Kineret include4:

  • redness, itching, pain, bruising, or swelling at the site of injection
  • headache
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • runny nose
  • stomach pain
  • flu-like symptoms

In some patients, Kineret can cause more harmful side effects. Patients who take Kineret are at increased risk for serious infections, including tuberculosis.1 Some patients also develop blood problems while on the medication, but it is very rare.2

These are not all the possible side effects of Kineret. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Kineret. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Kineret.

Other things to know

Before taking Kineret, tell your doctor if you1:

  • Have a current infection or are prone to recurring infections, including open cuts
  • Have kidney problems
  • Are scheduled to receive a vaccine
  • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant or are breastfeeding

People who are allergic to the bacterium E. coli should not take Kineret1.

With Kineret, there is an increased risk for serious infection. This is because Kineret can decrease the ability of the immune system to fight infections. If an infection develops while you are taking this medication, or if you have a severe allergic reaction, contact your doctor immediately.1

Patients taking this medication should not take other biologic medications against RA, because they all decrease the activity of the immune system.2 You should also not receive live vaccines while you are taking Kineret.

It is important for doctors to test you for TB before you take Kineret and to monitor for infections and blood problems while you are on the medication.3

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