Video Q & A:

Biologics

Question:

How do biologics treat RA?

Expert:   Harry D. Fischer, MD, Chief of Rheumatology, Beth Israel Medical Center New York »

Biologics are the newest medication options for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Find out how they can halt your joint pain.

Transcript: The most commonly used drugs for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other inflammatory joint diseases include corticosteroids and synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, such as methotrexate. These drugs—also called DMARDs—may reduce or prevent joint damage and preserve joint function. Newer medications for treating RA are biological response modifiers, such as ETANERCEPT, ADALIMAMAB ,INFLIXIMAB AND abatacept. They are used when DMARDs and other treatments are not controlling the disease. Biological response modifiers, or BRMs, are made from proteins produced by living cells. They include TNF inhibitors, T-cell modulators and B-cell depleters. They have all been shown to block specific immune system cells that cause inflammation and to slow down joint damage. Biologics come in the form of a self-administered injection OR as an INTRAVENOUS INFUSION. They can make you feel better in 2 to 4 weeks . BRMs are safe for most patients, but they DO increase risk of infection since the immune system is suppressed. Rheumatoid arthritis patients should avoid biologics if they have an active bacterial infection, tuberculosis, or hepatitis B. And all DMARDs and BRMs have potential side effects, and the decision to use a particular drug for treatment should be based on a thorough discussion with your doctor of the benefits and risks. If you want specifics on biologic medication, make an appointment with your rheumatologist. More »

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