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Arthritis Today

Biologics Overview

These genetically engineered medications control the immune response.

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Biologic response modifiers (biologics for short) are drugs that are genetically engineered from a living organism, such as a virus, gene or protein, to simulate the body’s natural response to infection and disease. They target proteins, cells and pathways responsible for the symptoms and damage of rheumatoid arthritis and other types of inflammatory arthritis. The proteins targeted include tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin-1 (IL-1) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), which are involved in joint inflammation. Biologics are typically reserved for people whose arthritis has not responded well to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). However, in some cases doctors may prescribe a biologic first.

To learn more, see the Biologics Drug Guide.

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