Biologics for Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug List

July 2, 2014 • Prescription Drugs • Views: 4776

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) affects nearly 1.3 million patients in the U.S.  It is the 3’rd most common form of arthritis behind osteoarthritis and gout.  Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder and patients often need treatment with prescription medications to help control their symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease.  This blog post if more of a resource than a commentary or review.  I will list the currently available biologic medications (like Enbrel, Humira and Remicade for example) for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

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Rheumatoid arthritis is just one of a variety of autoimmune disorders which include other conditions such as plaque psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis, Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis and others.  The symptoms typically experienced by patients with RA include swelling and stiffness in the joints, soreness, fever, weakness and weight gain. Rheumatoid arthritis can be severely painful and ultimately disabling.  There is no cure, though treatment with medications along with exercise can often help control the symptoms

Many medications are available to treat rheumatoid arthritis including steroids (like prednisone), NSAIDs (like ibuprofen), and DMARDs (Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs) like methotrexate.  However, when these medications are no longer effective, patients may sometimes be directed to consider trying a biologic drug.

The term “biologic” drug means that these medications are not like other chemical medications.  They are typically genetically engineered proteins which act very specifically on areas of the human immune system.  Most are injectable medications and typically are far more expensive than traditional medications due to the manufacturing process needed.  Risks particularly associated with biologic drugs for rheumatoid arthritis typically have to do with the increased likelihood for infection due to immune system suppression.

The following list of medications may have additional indications beyond that of Rheumatoid Arthritis. 

Biologics for Rheumatoid Arthritis include:

ACTEMRA (tocilizumab) – A biologic, injectable medication indicated for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis by the manufacturer Genentech.  It is technically an interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor antagonist.  Visit the manufacturer website by clicking here.

ENBREL (etanercept) – A biologic, injectable medication indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis by the manufacturer Amgen. Enbrel belongs to a family of biologics known as Tumor Necrosis Factor inhibitors (TNF-inhibitors).  Visit the manufacturer website by clicking here.

CIMZIA (certolizumab) – A biologic injectable medication indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis by the manufacturer UCB.  Cimzia is also a TNF inhibitor.  Visit the manufacturer website by clicking here.

ILARIS (canakinumab) – A biologic injectable medication indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis by the manufacturer Novartis.  Like Actemra, Ilaris is an interleukin-1β blocker.  Visit the manufacturer website by clicking here

KINERET (anakinra) – A biologic injectable medication indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis by the manufacturer SOBI.  Visit the manufacturer website by clicking here.

ORENCIA (abatacept) – A biologic injectable medication indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis by the manufacturer Bristo-Myers Squibb.  Orencia is a selective T cell costimulation modulator.  Visit the manufacturer website by clicking here.

REMICADE (infliximab) – A biologic injectable (IV infusion) medication indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in combination with methotrexate by the manufacturer Janssen.  Remicade is a TNF inhibitor.  Visit the manufacturer website by clicking here.

RITUXAN (rituximab) – A biologic injectable medication for  the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis by the manufacturer Genentech.  Rituxan is a CD20-directed cytolytic antibody.  Visit the manufacturer website by clicking here.

SIMPONI (golimumab) – A biologic injectable medication for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis by the manufacturer Janssen.  Simponi is a TNF inhibitor.  Visit the manufacturer website by clicking here 

XELJANZ (tofacitinib citrate) – An ORAL tablet biologic medication for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis by the manufacturer Pfizer.  Xeljanz belongs to a family of medications known as Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitors.  Visit the manufacturer website by clicking here.

I hope that those who have been recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, or those who have been long-time patients, will find this quick summary of the available drugs useful as a starting point for their research.  Obviously this post was not intended to provide detailed information about each of these drugs from Rheumatoid Arthritis, but rather to provide you with a starting point.  . 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author: Jason Poquette

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