For me, biologics were the third medicine I tried for my RA (after methotrexate and sulfalazine). I’ve tried Humira, Enbrel, and (currently) Remicade. Biologics is a general term for a class of pharmaceuticals that are either from living organisms or at least partially synthesized from biological processes. In the case of RA, biologics are different types of proteins that are thought to decrease RA activity. For examples,
- Immunoglobin fusion proteins: Orencia
- Monoclonal antibodies: Humira, Remicade, Simponi
- Recombinant TNF-receptor fusion protein: Enbrel
With the exception of Orencia, RA biologics act as TNF-antagonists. Antagonists decrease the activity of specific enzymes, in our case, TNF. TNF, or tumor necrosis factor alpha, is a protein the signals cells to “INFLAME”! Orencia deactivates T-cells, which are involved in immune responses.