Reasons to Pause Your Biologic

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Biologics are usually injectable drugs. So they can be injected by the patient, or they can be infused in a clinic. And we have the newer small molecules, which are actually oral. These are very strong drugs that ultimately suppress inflammation. So we have drugs that are given every two months as an infusion. Or the patient can self-inject every week, every two weeks, every four weeks. The oral pills are usually daily.

Patients ask us all the time whether or not a biologic treatment is lifetime or not really depends on the patient's initial presentation, their ongoing symptoms, their other co-morbidities. So a lot of times biologics may be needed for a long time. Even if the patient goes into remission.

Regarding pausing the biologic, one reason could be just intolerance or side effects to the medication. Improper technique of administration. Where the patient is just not being able to give the medication themselves, if it's a self injectable. Maybe they have an infection. And they know that they need to pause their biologic. And fourthly, they might have to stop or pause the biologic if they are just not getting the benefit they are expecting.

Once a patient has paused their biologic, number one they should let the doctor know. So if we don't know, we really can't help. Once the patient informs us, we typically would like them to come in for a visit or do a tele-visit with us. So that we can discuss the reasons why they are not being able to take their drug. Depending on why they had to pause or stop the drug we can find alternatives.