The Consumer’s Guide to Biologics for Psoriatic Arthritis

We link psoriatic arthritis to psoriasis. The skin condition includes red, thick patches with silvery scales. Many find developing psoriasis years before being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis causes stiffness, joint pain, and swelling as the primary symptoms.

Psoriatic arthritis can occur in the body part, including your fingertips and spine can get affected. The effect can be mild to severe. In some, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can occur at the same time.

Biologics or Immunomodulator Therapy

No treatment or cure is available for psoriatic arthritis, but doctors try to manage the symptoms and stop joint damage, without which the disease can be disabling. Patients can take the biologics as injectable and in IV infusion form for psoriatic arthritis.

Pills and other treatments are available to put on the skin to relieve the symptoms of psoriasis. All drugs will not work for everyone to treat psoriasis. Hence, injectable medications, known as biologics, can be a good option.

We also know biologics as immunomodulator therapy. Biologics may not cure psoriasis or arthritis. It helps manage the symptoms well and prevents joints from getting worse.

Biologics and Side Effects

Biologics are not devoid of side effects, and some can be extremely serious and life-threatening. Doctors cannot tell much about Biologics drugs and their impact if taken in the long term since the drugs are relatively new. Hence, doctors resort to biologics when they run out of safer therapies that produce no promising results.

Alternative Therapies to Biologics

Alternative therapies include creams, lotions, sprays, salves, and gels. These are applied directly on the affected areas of the skin. Some medications include −

  • Hydrocortisone

  • Betamethasone

  • Calcipotriene (Dovonex and generics)

  • Clobetasol

  • Halobetasol

  • Tazarotene (Tazorac)

  • Phototherapy

Doctors under their direct supervision can provide light or ultraviolet phototherapy for those who have a large part of their bodies affected by the ailment.

Some doctors are now trying biologics first in severe psoriasis cases and joint pains besides skin issues.

Biologics and Related Helpful Facts You Must Know

  • Biologics belong to the DMARD (disease-changing antirheumatic drug) group of drugs

  • Helps manage, relieve, and ease the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis

  • Slow the progression of the disease and prevent it from getting worse

Difference Between DMARD and Biologics

While DMARD suppresses the entire immune system, biologics work on specifically targeted body parts of the immune system, causing inflammation triggered by psoriasis arthritis.

Ten Biologics Approved for Psoriatic Arthritis

  • TNF Blockers that include adalimumab (trade name Humira), certolizumab pegol (trade name Cimzia), etanercept (trade name Enbrel), golimumab (trade name Simponi or Simponi Aria), and infliximab (trade name Remicade)

  • IL-12/23 inhibitors include ustekinumab (trade name Stelara)

  • IL-23 inhibitors include guselkumab (trade name Tremfya)

  • IL-17 inhibitors include ixekizumab (trade name Taltz), secukinumab (trade name Cosentyx), T-cell inhibitors include abatacept (trade name Orencia)

Biologics Injectables and Infusion

The difference between biologics and other forms of psoriatic arthritis is that biologics are unavailable in pill form. Patients have at-home options for self-injectables. However, initially do it under a health specialist's supervision and get used to the self-injections. The other biologics treatments include IV (intravenous infusion) at a doctor's chamber.

Biologics' Relatively Safer Side Effects

Biologics treatment is associated with its share of unique risks and side effects. Biologics treatments target a specific part of your immune system. The most significant side effect is the high risk of infection.

Other common side effects include nausea, fatigue, headache, visible swelling, redness, and pain at the injection site.

Biologics Treat Mild to Severe Psoriatic Arthritis

Always consult a doctor to recommend biologics treatment if you are fit for biologics. Typically, doctors prescribe biologics for moderate-to-severe conditions of psoriatic arthritis.

Rheumatologists also recommend biologics when other treatments have not worked. There are sufficient reasons you would not be eligible for other first-line of psoriatic arthritis treatments.

Biologics Treatment is Effective

Biologics help manage, relieve, and mitigate the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. Doctors vouch for a 70% chance of a positive response from the efficacy, especially from the TNF blockers.

Another notable advantage of biologics is that doctors can combine it with other treatments and medications, such as the first-line DMARD treatment, known as methotrexate, for better results.

Biologics Works Quickly

Biologics works quickly. People feel better post the first night after taking the biologics injectables or IV infusions. Patents notice rapid improvements typically within the first 4-6 weeks, including relief from joint pain, swelling, and fatigue.

Insurance Cover for Biologics Treatment

Biologics treatment can be expensive. Hence, doctors and hospitals work with your medical insurance company to establish the need for treatment through a covered biologic. You can reduce out-of-pocket costs substantially by working with patient help programs or financial aid.


Psoriatic arthritis is a disease that causes inflammation in joints and other body parts and spreads to your entire body if untreated. Biologics is a targeted treatment therapy that addresses the source and the root cause to manage and mitigate the risk of spreading to other body parts.

The treatment efficacy generates quick relief for patients and helps ease the symptoms of moderate to severe psoriatic arthritis. Biologics help improve the quality and way of life of psoriatic arthritis patients.

Updated on: 24-Apr-2023


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