8 Common Questions About Biologic Treatments

By

Beth W. Orenstein

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Just over a decade ago, a new class of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drugs was introduced, making a dramatic difference in the prognosis of people with this potentially crippling disease. Here are answers to the most common questions about this exciting advancement in the treatment of RA.


What Are Biologics?

Most drugs are manufactured from man-made compounds. Biologics are different—human genes are used to make them in a laboratory. In the late 1990s, researchers developed biologics that are able to block the cells that trigger inflammation of the joints. Several biologics have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of RA. These include abatacept (Orencia), adalimumab (Humira), anakinra (Kineret), certolizumab (Cimzia), etanercept (Enbrel), golimumab (Simponi), infliximab (Remicade), rituximab (Rituxan), and tocilizumab (Actemra).

W. Hayes Wilson, MD, discusses the basics of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and treatment.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Feb 16, 2015

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