After you have been diagnosed with one of more than 80 autoimmune diseases. You may have many questions about the treatment of autoimmune diseases (including biological agents).
This is a very important question because your treatment plan will greatly affect your daily mental and physical feelings
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Medical Library of Autoimmune Diseases occurs. When your immune system mistakenly attacks your own healthy cells and causes inflammation in your body.
Symptoms and treatment vary from disease to disease, but in most cases. Treatment for autoimmune diseases includes drugs that reduce inflammation to help improve symptoms and achieve relief.
Biological agents are a common treatment for autoimmune diseases. It can be used for a variety of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and Crohn’s disease.
If your doctor recommends taking a biological drug. You are interested in trying a biological drug. It is best to understand how the drug can help you. Here are seven things about taking biologics to treat autoimmune diseases.
Biologics are more targeted than traditional treatments
Some drugs treat autoimmune diseases by suppressing your entire immune system so that your body does not attack itself.
Biological agents only target specific parts of the immune system that cause disease, which can help people reduce side effects.
We are not suppressing the entire immune system. But using biological agents to target specific receptors or specific inflammatory pathways,” said Zahi Touma, MD, Ph.D. Associate professor of medicine, clinician, and rheumatologist at the University of Toronto. University Health Network/Mount Sinai Hospital, tell me.
Biological agents are usually prescribed after trying other drugs
If other treatments do not help your specific condition. If you experience too many side effects of these drugs, your doctor will usually prescribe a biological product.
For example, if you have an allergic reaction to current medications, your doctor may recommend a biological agent.
Depending on your specific autoimmune disease and your overall health. Your doctor may recommend that you take biologics as soon as possible after diagnosis.
For example, if your condition has progressed and you have a lot of pain and discomfort. Your doctor may want to start with a more specific treatment plan.
The sooner you start active treatment, the better your results are,” Anca D. Askanase, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine and director of the Columbia University Lupus Center, told SELF. (Common biopharmaceutical options include adalimumab and infliximab.
Keep in mind that based on new research and available therapies, your treatment options may change over time. Make sure you continue with your doctor Discuss which treatment options may be best for you.
The insurance company may have specific requirements for biological products. Such as suggesting to try other treatments first (this is another alternative. Your doctor may not prescribe biological products when you are first diagnosed. One reason).
If you do not have insurance or your insurance company does not cover biologics. Some drug manufacturers offer patient assistance programs to help people who cannot afford the cost of drugs.
You can contact the manufacturer of the specific drug you are interested in to learn more about the available procedures.
Biological agents cannot be provided in pill form
Taking biological agents is more complicated than traditional pills. They are given by intravenous (IV) infusion at the office or subcutaneous injection at home. With a frequency ranging from twice a week to once every three months. (The exact method will vary from biology to biology).
In-office treatments can take up to several hours. So they may not be the best option for people with very busy schedules. Affordable people can hire home health workers to help manage medication at home.
For people who travel frequently or whose schedule is very unpredictable. Injections at home may be a better option than infusions.
However, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, many biologics must be kept cold to be safe and effective.
In this case, the medicine is usually stored in the refrigerator or wrapped in an ice pack if you carry it with you.
Biological agents cannot relieve immediately
Unfortunately, this drug is not a quick solution. Dr. Askanase explained that it may take a while for your symptoms to improve. It takes time for biologics to accumulate in your body and begin to work.
Depending on the biology, it may take weeks to months to notice any changes. It is a good idea to discuss with your doctor how quickly you expect a particular biologic to start working.
Although your doctor does not know how you will respond to a particular medication. She may let you know how quickly a particular treatment works for other people, or which symptoms usually improve first.
Biological agents may have side effects
When discussed treatment, you need to ask your doctor about possible side effects so you know what will happen.
Here are some questions that can lead to helpful conversations:
- What side effects do your patients often experience with this biologic?
- So,What are the less common side effects that you think I should pay attention to?
- What should I do if side effects occur? ?
- Should I worry about side effects?
According to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center. Some common side effects include pain and swelling around the injection site and possible infection.
Dr. Askanase said that if you have any side effects (or just general concerns about medications). Then you should always contact your doctor’s office.
Or, if you experience a very serious condition, such as shortness of breath or tingling. It is best to seek emergency care as soon as possible.
All medicines have side effects, but Dr. Askanase says your doctor can help reduce these side effects.
So that you can also take care of your condition appropriately and get some relief. People need to ensure that our approval process for biologics is thorough to minimize risk and maximize efficacy and safety,” said Dr. Askanase.
Once the biologics are chosen between and their doctors. I think we need to start the process with confidence and hope very much that this drug will provide the best results.”
You may need to test more than one species
Dr. Kaplan explained that in some cases, the first biological agent you take may not work for you. It may suddenly fail over time.
If your symptoms do not improve after a few months. You may need to discuss with your doctor whether your medicine is best for your situation.
Recording a diary during the entire treatment process. Detailing all your medications, habits, and symptoms, can help you arrange all the content of the appointment.
If your symptoms are relieved after using biological agents. But then your symptoms gradually worsen or The appearance of new symptoms may indicate that your biologics are not working well.
First, you need to make sure to follow the recommended treatment plan for your specific medication. Because skipping a dose can affect the effectiveness of any medication.
If you take the medication as prescribed. Our immune system may produce a creature that targets you and mistake him for a possible intruder.
When this happens, your doctor may recommend another method of treating autoimmune diseases or even another biological method. “People with autoimmune diseases do have a lot of hope,” said Dr. Kaplan.