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Biologics: What's your preference?

Featuring content from MediResource Inc.

Choices, choices, choices! Better to have them than not when it comes to treating rheumatoid arthritis. But when it's your turn to make the big decision, what will you consider? Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding which biologic treatment may be best for you:

It's important to let your rheumatologist know how you feel about the details of treatment so you can receive the treatment that is best for you.

How do I take the treatment?
All the biologics are taken by injection. Adalimumab (Humira®), anakinra (Kineret®), and etanercept (Enbrel®) are taken by an injection under the skin. People with RA can easily learn to inject these medications themselves at home. Some of these products offer in home training by nurses to help you learn to use them properly. Infliximab (Remicade®) is injected into a vein, and is administered by a health professional, usually in a hospital or clinic.

How often do I take the treatment?
The biologics are all taken on different treatment schedules:

  • Adalimumab (Humira®) is taken once every two weeks.
  • Anakinra (Kineret®) is taken every day.
  • Etanercept (Enbrel®) may be taken once or twice a week.
  • Infliximab (Remicade®) is taken every eight weeks after the first three treatments (the second and third treatments are taken two and six weeks after the first treatment).

Is there any preparation involved?
Adalimumab and anakinra come as pre-filled syringes, ready to be injected without any mixing or measuring. Etanercept must be mixed by adding sterile water to a vial of powdered medication. After the powder is dissolved, the dose is drawn up into a syringe and injected. Etanercept comes as a kit containing the vial, the water, and a syringe. The makers of etanercept have recently introduced a pre-filled syringe that may be preferred by some people with RA. Infliximab must be prepared in a hospital by a trained professional.

Where do I take the treatment?
Adalimumab, anakinra, and etanercept can be taken at home, while infliximab is administered by a healthcare professional in a hospital or clinic. Ask your doctor where the nearest hospital or clinic that performs this service is located and their hours of operation. You may need to book an appointment ahead of time and arrange for some time off work to have your medication administered. If this is a problem for you, talk to your doctor about biologics that can be taken at home.

To help find the biologic that fits you and your lifestyle, it's important to let your rheumatologist know how you feel about the factors above so that they can be fully considered when deciding which treatment is right for you.

Your preferences are just that: your preferences. Therefore, be specific about them when you talk to your rheumatologist. For example, if you would prefer to use the medication at home and you have concerns about how often you have to take it, tell your rheumatologist. They can help you to choose the biologic treatment that's right for you, based on your condition and your preferences.

For more information on biologic medications, please visit the "Are you getting the RA medication that's best for you?" section of the Arthritis (Rheumatoid) Channel.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Biologics-Which-One-Is-Right-for-Me