Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic and incurable autoimmune disease characterized by synovial joint damage and systemic inflammation, often leads to substantial disability and reduced quality of life. Biologics, a class of medication that targets key pathways in the RA inflammatory response, have increased therapeutic options in the past decade. Because several biologics are administered intravenously, specialized training in administration and updates on RA management are increasingly needed. This article reviews the pathogenesis of RA and the biologics newly approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, such as the interleukin-6 inhibitor tocilizumab, including their targets in the inflammatory cascade.
Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Research Coordinator, Seattle Rheumatology Associates, Seattle, Washington.
Correspondence: Nicole Furfaro, MSN, ARNP, Seattle Rheumatology Associates, 1101 Madison St, Seattle, WA 98104 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Nicole Furfaro is a Nurse Practitioner of rheumatology and internal medicine at Seattle Rheumatology Associates and a subinvestigator for the Swedish Rheumatology Research division of the Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. She is currently a member of the Rheumatology Nurse Society, the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals, and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and serves as a board member for the Northwest Arthritis and Osteoporosis Institute.