Biologics are potent drugs that are used to slow down or stop damaging inflammation. It is effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis, which is a type of inflammatory arthritis. In RA, the body’s immune system attacks the tissues and joints, and in severe cases, it attacks internal organs.
RA can significantly affect many joints in your body, including your hands and feet. biologics in Houston is designed to fight your immune system and offer protection from further damage. The effects of RA can be devastating. Therefore, you must know how to treat it with the help of biologics.
What are biologics for rheumatoid arthritis?
Biologics are drugs that attack certain types of cells which pose a threat to your healthy cells. They are modified to target those threatening cells and attack them, something traditional drugs cannot do. Remember that biologics do not cure RA completely; however, they can provide relief and slow down its progression.
Types of biologics
There are several types of cells in your body. Depending on which type of cell is in danger, your doctor may prescribe the following biologics.
- B-cell inhibitors
B-cell inhibitors affect B-lymphocytes (also known as B-cells), which are small white blood cells. These are an essential part of your body’s immune system. By inhibiting the activities of B-cells, they reduce the action of the immune system and thus, prevent RA.
- Interleukin-1 blockers
Your body produces an inflammatory compound known as interleukin-1. Interleukin-1 blockers aim to block the production of these compounds to reduce the inflammation process.
- Interleukin-6 inhibitors
This type of biological drug keeps the inflammatory chemical interleukin-6 from attaching to your body’s cells.
- T-cell inhibitors
Not unlike B-cells, T-cells are white blood cells that are an essential factor in your body’s immune system. These drugs attach to the T-cells and help prevent inflammation.
- Tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNF-inhibitors)
Tumor necrosis factors or TNF are proteins responsible for initiating the beginning stages of the inflammation process. Usually, TNF causes inflammation during a normal immune response. However, for people with RA, it causes unnecessary inflammation. Therefore, TNF inhibitors block the activity of TNF.
How are biologics taken?
Biologics are either given to patients through an IV infusion or self-injections. These drugs cannot be made into pills as the molecules contained are too small to pass into your bloodstream. Therefore, some biologics are injected under your skin or directly into your vein.
Side effects of biologics
Any type of drug consists of risks. Since biologics target specific parts of the immune system, it has comparatively fewer side effects. They are as follows:
- Pain or swelling at the injection site
- Reduced ability to make new blood cells