20 Facts about Biologic Medications for Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Biologic response modifiers or Biologics are a modern class of medications which are used to treat autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis. Often Biologics are distinguished from “drugs” which are chemically synthesized medicines. Biologic medications are used to interfere with the treacherous immune system response of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Truths about Biologic medications for RA

  • Biologics were designed to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases.
  • Biologics, like vaccines, are made from living organisms.
  • Biologics can help slow or delay Rheumatoid Arthritis damage.
  • Some studies show Biologics can make the course of RA milder.
  • Many countries have not approved the use of Biologics due the expense to state run health care.
  • Biologics work better with methotrexate.
  • It can take over 10 years and over 1 billion dollars to bring a new biologic drug to market. (Estimated at over 1.2 billion in 2007.)
  • Patients can develop antibodies against Biologics, making them ineffective. Methotrexate can help prevent this.
  • There are about 10 different Biologics that have already been approved for use with various autoimmune diseases.
  • Biologics are injected because harsh digestive enzymes can ruin them.
  • It can take several months for a Biologic to reach its potential benefit.
  • Biologics may need to be suspended in case of infection or surgery, but not for every cold virus.

Myths about Biologic medications for RA

  • You should wait to use Biologics until other DMARDs have failed to achieve remission.
  • Biologics help all Rheumatoid Arthritis patients live normal lives.
  • Only patients with severe RA should use Biologics.
  • Biologics are just expensive anti-inflammatories.
  • Biologics cause cancer. (This may not be true; however, RA can increase cancer risk.)
  • Biologics make you gain weight. Prednisone, on the other hand… EDIT: A subsequent study showed 1 biologic might influence leptin and therefore weight gain. This myth might be busted!
  • Biologics cause infections.
  • All Biologics work in the same way.

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 at 7:08 am and is filed under RA Education. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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