Biologics can finally be given to some people with moderate rheumatoid arthritis

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For the first time, biologics have been recommended for the treatment of some people with moderate rheumatoid arthritis in draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Biological treatments were previously recommended only for people with severe rheumatoid arthritis. And they’ve made a massive difference to this group. Now, doctors can prescribe adalimumab, etanercept and infliximab (with methotrexate) to people with moderate rheumatoid arthritis who have not responded to conventional therapies. In addition, etanercept and adalimumab can be used as a single treatment when methotrexate is contraindicated or not tolerated.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects around 400,000 people in the UK, and more than 150,000 have moderate rheumatoid arthritis. More than 15% of people with moderate rheumatoid arthritis have not responded to conventional therapies, and the recommendations are great news for them.

Andrew Pothecary expert advisor to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, heralds the new recommendations as a “major change” in the treatment of people with moderate rheumatoid arthritis that will “enable thousands of people to access a wider range of effective medications for their condition.

“For individual patients, it means they will be able to get back to a more normal life, continuing with activities, hobbies, and sports they enjoy, as well as being able to continue or stay in work.”

For more about rheumatoid arthritis research, click here.

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