Biologics, the drugs of the future

For those who have not yet taken them or researched them, the biological meds are very different from the chemical meds you have always taken. These are so impressive and affective, they can target the area of the body that needs them, and target that area right down to the very cell. They bypass many of the systems that so often suffer side effects from the chemical drugs.

The drugs require serious study as they do have significant side effects and are not effective for everyone But they are making tremendous progress in the development of therapy for the various autoimmune diseases

Agreed, I know of so many from the Psoriatic Arthritis site that suffered for years, were on canes and in wheel chairs, once they got the right biologic, were back on their feet again, without canes! So when you find the right one, it can do miracles!

I’ve been reading a lot about biologics, such as Benlysta, and Rituxan. They are major in the Lupus world because they provide an alternative to steroids. I was shocked to read that there really wasn’t any medical breakthroughs for Lupus until the introduction of these drugs in 2010. It had 50 years since the FDA approved any drug for the treatment of Lupus. Most doctors were just prescribing pain killers and Plaquenil back then (Plaquenil was the first drug to be approved). However the biologics don’t work for everyone. For example, Benlysta has not been shown to be beneficial to African American patients, while Rituxan has. With any drug for Lupus, it’s basically going to be hit or miss, because it’s a disease that is so unpredictable with so many different symptoms, and can be tied in with other autoimmune diseases.It will be up to the patient and their doctor if the benefits outweigh the risk. I’m very skeptical when it comes to drugs because American drug companies want to sell their meds to make a profit, so I would want to see more data before I feel like biologics are the next big thing. Glaxosmithkline just bought the company that manufactures Benlysta, so bet the prices will go up, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more doctors start to push these drugs, as some get paid by pharmaceuticals to do so. Seeing is believing for me, I would want to see at least a decades worth of study, so we can have a better view of the side effects over time. I want to feel better, but I don’t want to be a guinea pig.

Hi Risa,

You are so right to be concerned, especially being young.

Here is my take as a 57 year old grandmother, I am being treated mainly for Psoriatic Arthritis, the Spondylitis type, which mainly targets the Spinal cord and SI joints, but a systemic disease just the same. Once damage is done to a joint, or an organ it is irreversible.

All of my grandkids have Psoriasis, the great grandson was born with it, because this goes so far back in the family, and they have the skin lesions they have a very good chance of getting this, and I also have secondary Sjogrens and Raynauds, they expect Lupus and/or MS to eventually test positive, along with others in my Overlap syndrome diagnosis.

Not only do I want to stay upright for as long as possible, for me and for them, I also want to be part of the guinea pig experience for them, I told Enbrel that I will take part in their ongoing research of my progress and problems with the med at anytime for my duration of usage.

I think that today may be the very best that I will ever be the rest of my life, I want to be able to walk them through the yard, take them to the park, and have them come to stay when I am still able. I want to help them work the 'bugs and glitches' out of the meds, as I want them to stand a better chance, as their likelyhood of having this/these diseases are high enough. My maternal grandmothers have been hunched, hump-backed, gnarled and crippled for as long as I can trace them back, and my Rheumatologist insists this is a genetic disease.

My insurance dictated that I start the clinical trials with the chemical drugs Sulfasalazine, after 3 months of that my arthritis was worse, and I had an ulcer from it. So then on to 4 months of Methotrexate, I felt more tired and sick to my stomach from that, and woke up one morning with my mouth so full of blisters, I could not wear my dentures (lost nearly all of my teeth from Sjogrens) plus I had about 50 blisters all over the outside of my mouth. Talk about flip out! (this is a chemo med, by the way) My GP and my Rheumatologist both said it was from the med, in the meantime the arthritis progressed, I have less movement, more pain, less cartilage, less disc and bone.

Though summertime is not my biggest challenge, even though I still have bad days and flares, there is a marked improvement in my mobility, my energy, less pain and suffering, it is slowing down the progression of the disease. Many of the severe side effects have gone down drastically with increased usage by the population and are rarer and rarer.

The main cause of death in the US is from car accidents, the automakers still make a fortune, and no one really hesitates to get into a car.

There is a new biologic in clinical trials for Crohns disease right now, the patients chosen for this trial had taken the standard chemical drugs for and average of 14 years, after 9 days using this biologic the photos show that they have a colon that looks like a brand new one! I will have to look further in my notes for that one, and will post it for you.

So these are just my personal feelings and experiences about the meds. The people in Australia, Canada, and the UK cannot be treated with biologics unless they test positive in bloodwork for their particular disease, and there is only a small percentage that will ever test positive in bloodwork, they are getting knee and hip replacements because of lack of treatment.

I surely would never discount your opinions or fears about a medicine, never. I just wanted you to know my experience and thoughts on them. I am in love with my Enbrel and what it has done for my life.

Big hugs to you, wishing you WELL,


I’m glad that you have success on Enbrel, and I totally understand where you are coming from. I guess I should keep an open mind. If I do face having to take chemicals over biologics, I will definitely want to weigh the pros and cons. I am just that way with every decision I face in life. If it keeps alive longer so I can enjoy my life with my kids, I may go for it. But if the risk would be to high, I’d rather work through it another way. I’m definitely following this topic so I can learn more.

I am so glad u are posting this. I am actually receiving one of those in the drug study.

May I ask which one, please?

The drug is called Epratuzumab. It s a double blind study and I think I am getting the placebo. I have had 4 infusions and absolutly no effects what so ever. Nothing good or bad. I get 4 infusions in a row once a week then for 8 weeks I dont get any. then I get 4 .... etc. I have had my first set. if after the second set I still feel nothing, my doctor will move me into the open lable study were I am garentied the acsual drug.

SK said:

May I ask which one, please?