oa SA Pharmaceutical Journal - The role of anti-TNF therapy in practice : medifile



Biological therapy refers to agents that are derived from living sources, such as microorganisms, animals or humans and often represents state of the art medical research. One such biological drug class is the TNF inhibitors. Since infliximab became available nearly a decade ago, it has given new hope to patients with inflammatory diseases. These diseases, for example rheumatoid arthritis, may cause severe symptoms that have a significant impact on patient functioning and quality of life.

Two other TNF blockers are also available, and their characteristics, administration and therapeutic spectra differ from infliximab. Nonetheless, this drug class has been shown to be beneficial in a number of inflammatory conditions.
This article is the first in a series of two and will focus on the patho-physiology of inflammatory diseases, mechanisms to inhibit the inflammatory mediators, and the nomenclature and characteristics of the TNF inhibitors. Furthermore the clinical use of these drugs in various conditions is reviewed. In the follow-up article, the adverse effects of the TNF blockers will be discussed, as well as the issues around which drug to select and the appropriateness of switching from one to another.


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