Biologics for Psoriasis
These medicines are also called tumor necrosis factor antagonists (TNF antagonists).
These medicines may be given in an IV (intravenously) or as a shot.
How It Works
Why It Is Used
Biologics such as adalimumab, alefacept, etanercept, golimumab, infliximab, or ustekinumab are used to treat moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Some biologics may be used for treating both conditions.
How Well It Works
These biologics significantly reduce symptoms of psoriasis, providing rapid and sustained improvement. Continued treatment can lead to extended remission from symptoms.1
One study showed that etanercept was effective for treating psoriasis in children.2
The most common side effect of these biologics is an allergic reaction to the injection (shot) or infusion (medicine given in a vein, intravenously, or IV). If you have a reaction to the shot or infusion, it will happen right away, either during the infusion or within 1 to 2 hours after the infusion or shot. Your doctor may give you medicines to prevent or stop the reaction.
Symptoms of a shot or infusion site reaction include:
Warnings have been issued about serious side effects of these biologics. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the medicine's manufacturers have warned about:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
The safety of long-term treatment with biologics is not known.
These medicines probably will have to be taken for long periods of time—possibly even for life.
Because biologics interfere with the immune system, it's possible that they may raise your risk of infection, anemia, and possibly even cancer. Medicines that suppress the immune system are not usually given to people with impaired immune systems. If you take biologic drugs, you may have periodic tests for tuberculosis.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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