Rilonacept: A Newly Approved Treatment for Recurrent Pericarditis

Ann Pharmacother. 2022 May;56(5):572-581. doi: 10.1177/10600280211036499. Epub 2021 Aug 28.


Objective: To review the pharmacology, efficacy, and safety of rilonacept for the prevention and treatment of recurrent pericarditis (RP).

Data sources: A MEDLINE search was conducted between January 2006 and April 2021 using the following terms: rilonacept, pharmacology, pericarditis, recurrent pericarditis, interleukin (IL) antagonist, and pharmacology; prescribing information was also used.

Study selection and data extraction: English-language studies assessing pharmacology, efficacy, and safety of IL antagonists were reviewed.

Data synthesis: Rilonacept traps IL-1α and IL-1β. In the Phase III trial, rilonacept was associated with a lower risk of recurrence, more persistent clinical response, and higher amount of days with no or minimal pericarditis symptoms, compared with placebo. The median time to pain response was 5 days, and median time to normalization of C-reactive protein was 7 days with rilonacept. All patients receiving rilonacept during the run-in period were able to be weaned off of standard background therapy, leading to transition to rilonacept monotherapy. The most common adverse effects were upper respiratory tract infections and injection site reactions.

Relevance to patient care and clinical practice: Rilonacept may be used for the prevention and treatment of multiple recurrences in patients receiving background therapy for RP, and reduction in risk of recurrence in adults and adolescents ≥12 years with elevated C-reactive protein. Rilonacept may be considered to wean patients from standard background therapy.

Conclusion: Rilonacept is a safe, once weekly, subcutaneously administered IL-1 "trap," indicated for the treatment of RP, and reduction in risk of recurrent pericarditis in adults and children ≥12 years of age.

Keywords: anakinra; canakinumab; pericarditis; pharmacotherapy; recurrent; rilonacept.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Child
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Humans
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Pericarditis* / drug therapy
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins* / adverse effects
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • rilonacept
  • C-Reactive Protein