Video Q & A:

Biologics

Question:

How are biologics administered?

Expert:   Linda Russell, MD, Hospital for Special Surgery »

Unlike traditional DMARDs, biologics are never available orally. Watch this video to learn why biologics require a tweak in your daily routine.

Transcript: Biologic response modifiers are medications made up of proteins produced by living HUMAN cells. They TREAT rheumatoid arthritis by targeting your immune system processes on a MOLECULAR level. Biologics come in two forms—as a self-administered INJECTION and as an INFUSION. They cannot be taken orally because the super-large sized proteins in them cannot be absorbed by your digestive tract. If you’re on a biologic that requires at-home shots, you’ll be injecting yourself with medicine as often as every day, every WEEK, or every month, or somewhere in between—it depends on the drug. It may seem intimidating—but your doctor will instruct you on how EXACTLY to administer the injection. You’ll get accustomed to the process after a few tries. If you’re on a biologic that requires infusions, it means that you’re taking in the medicine INTRAVENOUSLY, every few weeks, depending on the drug. You must visit a doctor’s office, a clinic or an infusion center for this form of treatment. Infusions can take 30 minutes to a few HOURS—the exact time depends on WHICH biologic you’re taking. Both injections and infusions require changes to your routine and lifestyle. But, it’s worth it—biologics will slow the progression of your disease, relieve your symptoms, and possibly even send your RA into remission. More »

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