What is a Biologic?
Like NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs), some biologics help treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by reducing the inflammation or swelling caused by the disease. Biologics are usually prescribed for people whose symptoms have not fully responded to other types of treatments, such as DMARDs.
Some biologics are made from proteins found in the body. They work by targeting and blocking the effects of a protein in your body called TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor-alpha). TNF-alpha is made by your body’s immune system. In certain autoimmune diseases, such as RA, there is too much TNF-alpha, which can cause the immune system to attack parts of the body. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints.
Anti-TNF biologics, such as SIMPONI®, target and bind with excess TNF-alpha, helping to block an underlying cause of the symptoms of RA.
It is important to know that blocking too much TNF-alpha can lessen your body’s ability to fight infection. Visit your doctor on a regular basis and be sure to mention any side effects you may be experiencing.
Two ways a biologic can be taken for moderate to severe Rheumatoid Arthritis.
There are currently two ways to administer a biologic treatment, depending on the medication being used:
- intravenous (IV) infusion, given at a doctor’s office or treatment facility
- self-injected under the skin, at home after being trained by a healthcare professional
You and your doctor should discuss your personal needs and preferences when deciding which treatment option is best for you.
Selected Important Safety Information
SIMPONI® (golimumab) can lower your ability to fight infections. Serious and sometimes fatal events may occur. There have been reports of serious infections including tuberculosis (TB) and infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses that have spread throughout the body. Other possible serious side effects may include lymphoma, skin cancer, a rare and fatal cancer called hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma, other cancers, hepatitis B, heart failure, nervous system problems, or allergic reactions. To learn more about these and other risks, please read the Important Safety Information, and the Medication Guide, and talk with your doctor.