These medicines are also called tumor necrosis factor
antagonists (TNF antagonists).
These medicines may be given in an IV (intravenously) or as a shot.
Biologics block harmful responses from the
immune system that lead to the symptoms of
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.
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
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.)
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.
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
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Abramowicz M (2008). Drugs for acne, rosacea and
psoriasis. Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter,
Paller AS, et al. (2008). Etanercept treatment for children and adolescents with plaque psoriasis. New England Journal of Medicine, 358(3): 241–251.
Menter A, Griffiths CEM (2007). Current and future
management of psoriasis. Lancet, 370(9583):
January 9, 2012
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Amy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
We are happy to take your appointment request over the phone, or, you may fill out an online request form.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.