Biologic medications target molecules on cells of the immune system, joints, and the products that are secreted in the joints, all of which can cause inflammation and joint destruction. Unlike other medications that treat PsA after it has occurred, biologics attempt to stop it from happening. There are several types of biologics, each of which targets a specific type of molecule involved in this process.
Biologics that bind tumor necrosis factor (TNF) include etanercept (Enbrel), adalimumab (Humira), infliximab (Remicade), certolizumab pegol (Cimzia), and golimumab (simponi). These are called anti-TNF agents or TNF inhibitors. There are newer biologics that target other molecules instead of TNF..
Biologics like all the “good meds” put you in the “gap” Some folks start to get immediate results, especially with skin, others take several months. Biologics may be used alone or in combination with other DMARDs (eg, methotrexate), NSAIDs, and/orglucocorticoids (steroids).
All biologic agents must be injected. Some can be injected under the skin by the patient, a family member, or nurse. There are others that must be injected into a vein, which is typically done in a doctor's office or clinic; this takes between one and three hours to complete.
Biologics are perhaps the most controversial medications we take. While most of us who have been around awhile prefer them and frankly as the “gap process” Look forward to the day we can start them because they are so much more pleasant to take with fewer side effects, the internet would lead you to believe otherwise.
When the “right to know” laws were passed back in the 80’s one of the more fortunate or less fortunate depending on your reference outcomes was that every “occurrence” with a medication during clinical trials had to be listed. With the biologics one of those occurrences was an very slight increase over the placebo group in certain types of cancers. Statistically these occurrences could have been classified as “outliers” because of the right to know laws they had to be listed anyway. In 10 years of post market studies, they still have not been able to establish any evidence that the biologics were the cause. These are immuno-suppresent drugs as are many of the meds we take. The best person to discuss these issues with is your physician. He is far more reliable than strangers on the Internet. Millions are taking them and benefiting from them. They simply are too busy enjoying life to spend time in Internet chat rooms informing the world of their “problems”
The US numbers are much higher for use of biologics but as a point of reference: only 26%of patients use Bios Patients who initiated biologics both as monotherapy (30%) and in combination with methotrexate (36%) dropped the therapy with in 12 mos and 50% dropped all therapy.
So no matter how you cut it basically only 1 in 5-10 patients use Biologics. As was said earlier people in this community generally have severe disease or more complications from their disease so their experiences are not typical.