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Open Access Review

Biologic therapy for autoimmune diseases: an update

Ziv Rosman1, Yehuda Shoenfeld23 and Gisele Zandman-Goddard13*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine C, Wolfson Medical Center, 61 Halochamim Street, POB 63, Holon, 58100 Israel

2 Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases, Sheba Medical Center, Sheba 2, Ramat-Gan, Israel

3 Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel

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BMC Medicine 2013, 11:88  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-88

Published: 4 April 2013

Abstract

Biologic therapies for rheumatologic diseases, which are targeted at molecules involved in the mechanisms of the immune system, provide an alternative to the existing treatment methods of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs and other immunosuppressive medications. However, the current drawbacks of biologic therapies, including the inconvenience of intravenous administration, the high costs of these drugs, and the adverse events associated with them, prevent their wide use as first-line medications. This review provides an update of the recent literature on the new biologic therapies available. The review concentrates on nine drugs: tocilizumab, rituximab, ofatumumab, belimumab, epratuzumab, abatacept, golimumab, certolizumab, and sifalimumab, which are used as therapies for rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic sclerosis, or vasculitis.

Keywords:
Biologics; Anti-TNF; B cell depletion; Autoimmune diseases; Rheumatoid arthritis; Spondyloarthritis; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Systemic sclerosis; Vasculitis