We mostly hear about the TNF blockers, Enbrel (etanercept), Remicade (infliximab) and Humira (adalimumab), but are some arthritis patients doing well with the biologic IL-1 antagonist Kineret (anakinra)?
Starting TNF Blocker Drugs (Enbrel, Remicade, Humira)
At least 70 percent of patients with rheumatoid arthritis who start one of the TNF blocker drugs - Enbrel (etanercept), Remicade (infliximab), or Humira (adalimumab) - will get significant improvement in their condition.Even more patients will get benefit when methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall) or another DMARD (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug) is combined with treatment.
Switching TNF Blocker Drugs (Enbrel, Remicade, Humira)
If a patient does not respond to the initial TNF blocker after 3 months, switching to another will increase their chance of benefit.
In fact, even if a patient has not responded to two of the TNF blocker drugs, the third still might be useful.
Most rheumatolgists have not used Kineret (anakinra) commonly to treat rheumatoid arthritis due to its decreased effectiveness and need to inject daily.
Kineret has been very useful in those patients who have been diagnosed with a systemic form of juvenile arthritis called Still's disease.
If You Stopped TNF Blocker Drug Treatment
While patients who have stopped treatment with Enbrel and Humira can go back on the drug without concern, those who have been off Remicade for a prolonged period of time face the risk of infusion reactions which may be dangerous.
Related Resources - TNF Blocker Drugs
Answer provided by Scott J. Zashin, M.D., clinical assistant professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Division of Rheumatology, in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Zashin is also an attending physician at Presbyterian Hospitals of Dallas and Plano. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Rheumatology and a member of the American Medical Association. Dr. Zashin is author of Arthritis Without Pain - The Miracle Of Anti-TNF Blockers. The book is a must-have for anyone on one of the biologic drugs (Enbrel, Remicade, Humira) or considering the biologic drugs. Read our review of the book.