What Are Anti-Drug Antibodies?

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Biologics are an important class of drugs that are used to treat chronic inflammatory diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis. Biologics are proteins produced by living organisms, like bacteria, yeast, or animal cells. While they can be very effective for many people, biologics sometimes trigger an unwanted immune response inside your body due to their large size and complex structure. If your immune system identifies these proteins as foreign invaders, B cells, a type of white blood cell become activated, and produce anti-drug antibodies or ADAs. These antibodies bind to the beneficial proteins and reduce or completely deactivate their therapeutic effects.

In people with rheumatoid arthritis, ADAs were shown to lower the effectiveness of biologics, requiring higher doses or alternative therapies. ADAs Can also reduce the safety of treatment with biologics, causing allergic reactions and rare but serious autoimmune reactions. To learn more about biologics and anti-drug antibodies, talk to your doctor.