More Medications for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Interleukin 1 Inhibitor (Anakinra)
Anakinra (Kineret®) and tocilizumab (Actemra®) are also biologic response modifiers. They are often prescribed to people with moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis to help decrease rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and slow the progression of structural damage. Anakinra is typically recommended in people who have failed one or more DMARDs, and Actemra is usually reserved for people who have unsuccessfully tried one or more TNF inhibitors.
 
Anakinra is given as a daily injection; tocilizumab is given by a monthly IV drip (the procedure lasts 60 minutes).
 
Kineret side effects can include redness, swelling, bruising, or pain at the site of injection; headache; upset stomach; diarrhea; runny nose; and abdominal pain (or stomach pain). Actemra side effects may include high liver enzymes, infections, headache, and high blood pressure.
 
T-Cell Co-stimulation Modulator (Abatacept)
Abatacept (Orencia®) is a biologic response modifier used to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis in people who have not adequately responded to other medications.
 
Orencia works by inhibiting T cells. T cells are a type of white blood cell (leukocytes) that play an important role in the immune system. Orencia seems to prevent T cells from being active and multiplying too much. It is given as a monthly injection.
 
Common Orencia side effects include: infections, headaches, dizziness, cough, and back pain.
 
Targeted B-Cell Therapy (Rituximab)
Rituximab (Rituxan®) is a biological response modifier used in combination with methotrexate to treat moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis in people who have unsuccessfully tried one or more TNF inhibitors. Each course of treatment is given as two separate IV infusions two weeks apart. Each infusion procedure will last several hours. Courses may be repeated every 16 to 24 weeks as necessary.
 
Common Rituxan side effects include fever, chills, infections, low white blood cells, and general weakness.
 
 
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