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Biologic Drugs: How They Treat Conditions Like Rheumatoid Arthritis, And How They Stack Up To Synthetics


When we take a trip to the medicine cabinet, chances are most of us are on the hunt for a synthesized, complex compound. Basically, the medications we know and love are mostly made in labs, created through a series of chemical reactions. There are, however, other types of drugs around, even if they’re not as well-known? biologic agents.

These drugs are derived from proteins; and are produced by living organisms like yeast and bacteria, rather than made in a lab. Insulin, for example, is made through a recombinant process and bacteria. Biologic drugs are unfortunately costly to manufacture, but they have a range of skills much different from other, synthetic drugs.

Biologic agents are still used to target disease, but the way it takes action is a bit more complicated than most of its synthesized counterparts. Biologic drugs can replace our body’s proteins (like insulin), disrupt disease processes, or trigger reactions in the body. One example is with conditions like Crohn’s Disease or Rheumatoid arthritis, which cause pain because of inflammation. One way to reduce inflammation is to bind pro-inflammatory cytokines with biologic drugs, keeping the inflammatory cytokines from binding to the cells of the body.

Check out the video to learn more about biologic drugs, including a comparison of these drugs to their synthetic counterparts; and a deeper explanation of expenses.

Ali Venosa / Medical Daily