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Biologics in Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease, has been the focus of intense and fruitful research over the past two decades. A number of effective treatments for RA have been approved by the FDA for treating this disease, including a category of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) called biologic response modifiers (biologics), which are designed to halt the internal processes that cause inflammation. Biologics are genetically engineered proteins derived from human genes. They are designed to inhibit specific components of the immune system that fuel inflammation, which is a central feature of rheumatoid arthritis.

There are currently nine such agents approved for rheumatoid arthritis: abatacept (Orencia), adalimumab (Humira), anakinra (Kineret), certolizumab pegol (Cimzia) etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade), golimumab (Simponi) and rituximab (Rituxan).

Each of the biologics blocks a specific step in the inflammation process. Cimzia, Enbrel, Humira, Remicade and Simponi block a cytokine called tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF), and therefore often are called TNF inhibitors. Kineret blocks a cytokine called interleukin-1 (IL-1). Orencia blocks the activation of T cells. Rituxan blocks B cells. Actemra blocks a cytokine called interleukin-6 (IL-6).

Because these agents target specific steps in the process, they don’t wipe out the entire immune response as some other RA treatments do. And in many people, a biologic agent can slow, modify or stop the disease – even when other treatments haven’t helped much.

While the biologic drugs currently approved for RA have shown great effectiveness in controlling inflammation and preventing the joint erosion and deformity that characterize this condition, they carry many side effects and risks, including a greater likelihood of developing serious infections. Researchers are seeking new, more effective and safer treatments for RA, and are working on identifying potential risk factors in treating the disease.

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This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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