Thursday, December 27, 2012

Needle-Free Injections: Reality In the Future?

Biologic drugs have been used to treat RA during the past ten years. and are typically used as second-line drugs for patients who do not respond to traditional DMARDs.  Some biologics are used as first-line drugs for select patients with moderately to severely active RA.  There are nine biologics which are used for the treatment of RA, with the first receiving FDA approval in 2001.  A tenth biologic drug, Xeljanz (tofacitinib), was approved in November 2012 and should hit the market soon.

Traditionally, RA patients may be prescribed treatment with one or more of the non-biologic DMARDs before receiving treatment with a biologic drug (which is considered more aggressive).  A recent meta-analysis of 70 studies involving drugs used for RA compared the effectiveness of various treatments and combination of treatments in preventing joint erosion caused by RA as seen on x-ray image.  One outcome of the analysis revealed that combination treatment with 2 DMARDs plus periodic steroid treatment may be as effective as a biologic agent plus methotrexate (Graudal, 2010).

Besides being very expensive, a drawback to the biologic medications has been that they are given as subcutaneous injection (shot under the skin) or intravenous (IV) infusion.  However, many patients who fear self-injections are able to learn to give themselves shots with appropriate training and support.

Read this post in its entirety:

DMARDs, Biologics for RA, and Needle-Free Injections

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