TNF (tumor necrosis factor). Your doctor may call these “anti-TNF” drugs. TNF is a chemical your body makes that causes inflammation. Drugs that help suppress it include adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab (Cimzia), etanercept (Enbrel), golimumab (Simponi), and infliximab (Remicade). Most people take this type of biologic drug first.
Tame Inflammation and Save Joints
Doctors often prescribe biologics if another group of drugs, called DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs), don’t control RA enough. You can take biologics with other types of RA drugs. Usually, people who take a biologic also take a DMARD. But you can take a biologic by itself.
All biologics have been shown to slow or even stop joint damage from getting worse. Though it may take some time to find the one that works best for you, most people eventually have some improvement in their RA symptoms.
Studies show that these improvements usually last, and that they can help you move better and handle your daily activities.
Because biologic drugs suppress the immune system, you’re more likely to get an infection when you take them. Most cases are mild, like a cold or sinus infection. It’s rare, but there have been life-threatening infections, including tuberculosis. Your doctor will closely watch for serious infections when you take a biologic. She can tell you about the benefits and risks of all your medicines.