Modifying DMARD treatment
Your rheumatologist can refine your medicines if your RA is not well controlled, by:
- switching you to a different DMARD
- adding DMARDs in combination.
Adding biological or targeted medicines
If your RA is not controlled after 6 months of DMARD treatment, your rheumatologist can add other medicines which work by blocking specific substances in the immune system. These are called biological medicines and targeted medicines.
- Abatacept (Orencia)
- Adalimumab (Humira)
- Baricitinib (Olumiant)
- Certolizumab (Cimzia)
- Etanercept (Brenzys, Enbrel)
- Golimumab (Simponi)
- Infliximab (Inflectra, Remicade, Renflexis)
- Rituximab (Mabthera, Riximyo, Truxima)
- Tocilizumab (Actemra)
- Tofacitinib (Xeljanz)
- Upadacitinib (Rinvoq)
There are many different biological and targeted medicines, as well as biosimilar* medicines, so know which one you are using.
The cost of these medicines is subsidised by the Australian government if you meet specific criteria.
Your medicine may be given either by injections under the skin, infusions into a vein or as tablets. You will need to be screened for tuberculosis and other infections before starting these medicines. Talk to your rheumatologist about which vaccinations are recommended before starting these medicines and which need to be avoided.
Keep using your usual pain management techniques, exercising regularly and looking after your mental health.
You continue to visit your rheumatologist to consider the use of different biological or targeted medicines until your RA is well controlled.