Treating Psoriatic Arthritis with Biologic Drugs
Biologics, such as Enbrel, Humira and Remicade, are also considered DMARDs. They are highly selective agents that target specific internal events in the body that cause psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
The drug Enbrel (also know by its generic name etanercept) was approved for individuals with moderate to severe psoriatic arthritis in January 2002 and for psoriasis in April 2004. It is also approved for treating rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
Studies have shown that Enbrel reduced the progression of joint damage for two years among individuals with psoriatic arthritis. Treatment consists of once- or twice-weekly self-injections under the skin. The recommended dose for adults with psoriatic arthritis is 50 mg per week. Like Humira, Enbrel works by suppressing TNF-alpha.
Humira (also know by its generic name adalimumab) is a biologic medication approved by the FDA in October 2005 to treat psoriatic arthritis and in January 2008 to treat psoriasis. It is also approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and Crohn’s desease.
The recommended dose for adults is 40 milligrams (mg) every other week. The drug is injected under the skin by the individual. Humira may help stop further joint damage. Humira works by suppressing a specific cellular "messenger" called tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) that is involved in triggering inflammation.
Remicade (also known by its generic name infliximab) was approved by the FDA in May 2005 to treat psoriatic arthritis and in September 2006 to treat psoriasis. It is also approved for ankylosing spondylitis, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.
During the first six weeks of treating psoriatic arthritis with Remicade, individuals receive 5 mg of the drug per kilogram (kg) of body weight in three infusions in a doctor’s office. After the first three treatments, individuals continue to receive Remicade infusions at regular intervals of eight weeks. Remicade may help stop further joint damage. Similar to Enbrel and Humira, Remicade is an anti-TNF-alpha drug.
Simponi (also known by its generic name golimumab) was approved by the FDA in April 2009 to treat adults with moderate to severe psoriatic arthritis. It is also approved for rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
Patients take Simponi by giving themselves an injection under the skin. The recommended dose for patients with psoriatic arthritis is 50 mg once a month. Simponi blocks excess tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). Simponi is designed to be taken continuously to maintain improvement.