Efficacy, tolerability and safety of biologic therapy in rheumatoid disease: patient considerations
Sarah Horton1, Maya H Buch2, Paul Emery2
1Section of Musculoskeletal Disease, Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Leeds, 2NIHR Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK
Abstract: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic inflammatory disease in which chronic inflammation leads to joint destruction and extra-articular complications. Early and effective inhibition of inflammation is critical in order to prevent the progressive joint damage that occurs rapidly after onset of the disease. In the past, treatment for this purpose was limited to conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), which were often suboptimal. Within the last decade however, the development of biologic therapies, targeted against cytokines and cells involved in the inflammatory process, has revolutionized the management of RA. Disease remission is now an achievable goal in newly diagnosed patients. Since the advent of the first tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitor in 1999, other biologics have proved necessary as individuals respond to varying degrees with different therapies. Several are now available for the treatment of patients with RA that remains active despite DMARD treatment. This article reviews the evidence, over the last decade, of the efficacy and safety of biologic therapies used in this context, and the recent clinical data supporting the use of biologic therapy earlier in the disease process as first-line therapy.
Keywords: rheumatoid arthritis, biologic therapy, tumor necrosis factor, abatacept, rituximab, tocilizumab, safety
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