Understand RA biologic treatment options.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis Biologics
Taking Rheumatoid Arthritis Biologics+
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) biologics can be given as injections or infusions. Some injections can be done at home by yourself (self-injection).
RA biologics given by self-injection
It is becoming more common for RA patients to give themselves their own injections at home. At first, you may feel uncomfortable about the thought of self-injection. Even though it may seem difficult at first, you may find that the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Your doctor or nurse will teach you how to self-inject, and will offer you ongoing support.
RA biologics given by intravenous (IV) infusion
With an IV infusion, medication is delivered as a liquid through a needle directly into a vein. A nurse or doctor will do this for you. Infusions are usually given in a hospital or infusion centre. How long the infusion takes will depend on the type of medication.
Some people prefer injections because they find it easier to give themselves the medication. Other people prefer infusions because they may be given less often, and they don’t have to handle needles. Most people find that the benefits of the treatment they are on outweigh the way the medication is delivered. The goal is to find the treatment that works best for you.
Additional Resources +
Self Assessment Tool. Use our interactive Self Assessment Tool to track joint tenderness and swelling, pain and fatigue over time. You can then see how well your treatment it working for you. You can also send your results directly to your nurse specialist.
Appointment Checklist. Good communication with your doctor can improve your health care. All questions are powerful and help build understanding. The more questions you ask, the more you will know your RA and the more control you will have over it. Click here to read and download a printable question checklist that you can take with you to your appointment.
Questions to Ask Your Medical Team. Going to see your doctor or nurse can be a little scary, especially if you are worried they might not ‘get’ what you’ve been going through. Use some of the questions below to help get your point across. You can also send your nurse the results of your Self Assessment Tool ahead of time, so they can see what’s been happening for you. Don’t be afraid to ask general questions about RA too, your medical team is there to help.
- How does RA affect my body?
- What will happen to my joints over time?
- What will my quality of life be?
What sort of advice do you have for me on how to manage:
- My pain
- My fatigue
- My lifestyle …?
- What sort of treatment do you think will work best for me?
- How does this treatment work in my body?
- How long will it be before I start to notice changes from taking this treatment?
What sort of lab tests/blood tests will I need to have?
- How often should I have these?
- Will you remind me to have them, or should I put them in my diary now?
- How will I know if my treatment isn’t working? What should I do?
What sort of side effects are possible from my treatment?
- What can I do about these side effects?
- Is there anything I should avoid while taking my treatment?
- Should I tell other doctors that I’m taking RA treatment?
How often should I make an appointment to see you?
- How can I change this appointment if I need to see you sooner?
- If my current treatment isn’t working what other treatment options are available?
Click here to download this discussion guide as a PDF to print and take to your appointment. It includes a space to write your own questions.