In the area of treating autoimmune conditions where inflammation is high, biologic treatments have been revolutionary in offering patients the potential to achieve a very low level of disease activity, if not full remission. These biologics are targeted at removing or decreasing the production of specific inflammatory substances.
Currently we have five biologic medications that decrease the inflammatory substance TNF, two that reduce interleuken-6 (IL-6), and one that reduces interleuken 12 &23. The newest additions in treatment reduce IL-17. Newer treatments that can work as well as biologic therapies are not made of protein, as our biologic medications are. These are “small molecule” medications that can be swallowed and are able to enter the cells that make inflammatory substances to reduce their production. Currently there is only one medication on the market in this category called, Tofacitinib. This type of treatment is only approved for Rheumatoid Arthritis, however many other conditions are being studied and more of these swallowed options are on the horizon.
Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health. Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.