When RA Biologics Fail

by | Aug 9, 2017 | Uncategorized

If you?ve been diagnosed with moderate to severe Rheumatoid Arthritis, your rheumatologist has no doubt suggested a biologic treatment protocol to treat your condition. Commercials for Humira and Enbrel can be seen on almost every television network advertising the amazing power of these medications but how effective are biologics and what are the risks of the treatment? Biologics are immune system inhibitors that target specific immune functions to combat the inflammation that causes rheumatoid arthritis. These medications are comprised of genetically-engineered proteins from human genes and are celebrated for their unique ability to isolate certain immune functions as opposed to traditional medications that can suppress all immune activity in the body. On paper, the science behind using biologics as an RA treatment is solid, but there is a lot of guess work involved with prescribing and administering the protocol.

The first biologic your rheumatologist will most likely prescribe is an anti-TNF (anti-tumor necrosis factor) like Humira, Enbrel, or Inflectra. These drugs work best for people in the early stages of the disease but are usually used to treat all cases of moderate to severe RA. When you?re initially prescribed an anti-TNF biologic, it can take up to 4 to 6 weeks before the medication becomes effective. That means while you?re self-injecting the medication for nearly two months you won?t experience any relief from your joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. Your doctor may prescribe additional medications in the meantime while you?re waiting to see if the medication will produce a positive result. About one-third of patients fail to respond to the first anti-TNF biologic protocol and if you?re one of these people you could suffer for up to two months in agony with an ineffective medication. The guesswork involved with biologic prescription presents the largest problem for patients interested in alternative options for their RA treatment and rheumatologists are divided on how to prescribe biologics, especially when one fails. This trial and error approach can leave you for months on end in pain with no change in your symptoms, and because of the high costs and high side effects risks, the process can be more damaging than helpful.

There are two types of biologics, anti-TNFs like Humira and Enbrel and others like Rituxan which targets B-cells to reduce autoimmune responses or Orencia that blocks t-cells to combat inflammation. Depending on your doctor?s treatment plan you could be switched from anti-TNFs to other biologics based on your response to the drugs, but the problem with biologics is even if the drugs are effective in treating your symptoms, they often work for some time but eventually fail. This is obviously a frustrating experience for many RA patients who have suffered through the costly guess work process of finding and prescribing a biologic only to have it fail. When considering the severe side effects of the medication that could include: numbness, vision trouble, muscle weakness in extremities, joint pain, skin irritation, hives, digestive issues, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, cold symptoms and back pain, many RA patients are wondering if the treatment is worth the risk. You need a long-term effective treatment option for your RA that works to eliminate your symptoms instead of temporarily suppressing them for a short time before you need to explore new and more costly options for treatment.

RA stem cell treatment is a revolutionary option for patients who are exhausted with the costly trial and error of biologic medication protocols. RA stem cell treatment uses cells harvested from your own body to target essential growth factors and cytokines to your joints to reduce inflammation and repair damage from the chronic disease. This treatment is minimally invasive and poses a much lower chance of infection and immune system risk than the self-injection process of taking biologics for your RA. RA stem cell treatment is a safer and highly effective alternative to traditional treatment and gives patients? the peace of mind of taking a treatment derived from their own body as opposed to a genetically modified substitute of a human protein. Many people shy away from stem cell treatment for RA because of the perceived high cost of the treatment but when you consider the cost of expensive biologics and the high chance of biologic failure, stem cell treatment is not only life changing but also a money saving option for your condition.

RA stem cell treatment gives your body the opportunity to heal organically and lessen your need for medications. This innovative treatment reduces your chance of suffering through debilitating side-effects and puts you on the road to taking back control of your life with less dependency on medication. Talk to an RA stem cell specialist today and start your journey to eliminate chronic RA pain.


Steve Sniadach M.D.

At Front Range Regenerative Medicine, we provide stem cell treatments that our patients can trust. If you’re seeking a solution for a medical problem like chronic pain, it’s time to call for a consultation.