Are Biologic Treatments Right For You?

These medications are potent weapons against rheumatoid, psoriatic and other forms of inflammatory arthritis. Here’s a primer.

By
Lori Murray


You’ll need a primer on how to take your medication. Biologics must be given by injection or intravenous (IV) infusion. Why? In a word: Digestion! Because biologics are man-made versions of natural proteins, if the drug were swallowed, digestive enzymes would break it down before it ever reached the targeted parts of the immune system. Therefore, the best way to deliver biologics is by injection or IV infusion directly into the bloodstream.

What should I expect during treatment?
Expect the best! “Many people notice improvement after one dose, but it can take up to six months to get the full benefits,” Dr. Zashin says.

Keep your doctor up to date. That means keeping all follow-up visits, since your doctor will want to monitor how your body is responding. Important: Tell your doctor if you have an infection, are scheduled to have surgery, have been diagnosed with another health condition (e.g., diabetes) or are due to have any vaccinations, since you should not receive certain vaccines made with live viruses. 

Published
April 2013