Biologic Therapy in Inflammatory and Immunomediated Arthritis: Safety Profile

Curr Drug Saf. 2016;11(1):22-34. doi: 10.2174/1574886310666151014115401.


The increasing insights into the pathogenetic mechanisms of inflammatory autoimmune arthritis and the development of innovative systems of industrial production have led to discover molecules that are able to target/block other molecules that play a critical role in the immune system functioning, and that have been introduced in clinical practice alone and/or in addiction with other "old" disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. For this reason, such drugs are currently known as "biological drugs" and include molecules that induce the immunosuppression acting on several immune pathways. However, though the biological drugs have been employed from more than a decade, there still exist some drawbacks of their use, in particular about the high costs of this therapy and their overall safety, including the route of administration for the intravenous use. In this review we provide an update on the correct use and current therapeutic indications of such drugs, including some of the new biologic therapies that will be soon available for the clinical use, focusing on these biological drugs: • Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitors (adalimumab, certolizumab-pegol, etanercept, golimumab and infliximab); • The T cell co-stimulation inhibitor, abatacept; • The anti-CD20 receptor monoclonal B cell agent, rituximab; • The interlukin-6 (IL-6) receptor-blocking monoclonal antibody, tocilizumab; • The interlukin-1 (IL-1) inhibitor, anakinra; • The interlukin-IL17 (IL-17) pathway inhibitors (ustekinumab, secukinumab, brodalumab).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adalimumab / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Biological Therapy / adverse effects
  • Biological Therapy / methods*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / etiology
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / immunology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Inflammation Mediators / immunology
  • Infliximab / therapeutic use
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • brodalumab
  • Infliximab
  • Adalimumab