Biologics have revolutionized the treatment of rheumatoid, psoriatic and other inflammatory types of arthritis for almost two decades, but plenty of misconceptions about them remain. Rheumatologist Eric Matteson, MD, helps separate fact from fiction.
Anti-TNF drugs have improved the lives of countless people with inflammatory forms of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis (RA). But when one of these medicines quits working, or you simply don’t respond to an anti-TNF drug, which drug might your doctor prescribe next? Physicians who have puzzled over these questions received some clues about how to treat the disease from the results of a new clinical trial presented at the 2015 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Meeting.
Anti-TNF drugs, which belong to a class of medicines known as biologics, block the action of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a protein that promotes inflammation. Five anti-TNFs are currently on the market: adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab pegol (Cimzia), etanercept (Enbrel), golimumab (Simponi, Simponi Aria) and infliximab (Remicade). Since the first anti-TNF medicines became available in the late 1990s, newer biologics have been developed that don’t target TNF, but instead block the action of other inflammation-causing proteins.