The biologics are miracle drugs for those whose problems are addressed by the specific drug. At this time there is no way to tell which biologic will work for you. It is a trial-and-error process. But when you find your miracle drug, there are several more conditions.
The first is cost. The VA pays $2800.00 a month for my Actemra. I pay $11.00. Under my advantage plan, the co-pay would be $300.00 a month. That would be more than I could reasonably afford. The drug companies have special cost reduced programs that will last up to a year, but those on social security or a government insurance will not qualify. If you qualify for Medicaid, you should be able to obtain the drug. If you can afford the cost, no problem.
The other qualifiers are length of effectiveness and tolerance of side effects. Some will have years of relief from their biologic. Some will have a year. Mine usually lasted a year before they stopped working.
Side effects and complications from the drugs will cause many to discontinue the prescription. I am at that point with Actemra. I have spent the last few weeks not feeling well. My leg wound is inconvenient and it does hurt but is not enough to make me feel so poorly. I have begun to feel that I am a sick person. I do think it is the Actemra. There is nothing else that it could be.
Actemra will cause MS and it will cause a perforated gut in addition to infections. It won’t be too long before it is black boxed for heart disease. The FDA is slow with their qualifiers. It will come.
I am stopping the drug. Another possibility is taking it every other week. For now, I am done with it. That was my last treatment possibility. I’ve been through them all. The JAK inhibitors cause cancer and are not recommended for me. We will see what happens next. My RA Doc is out of options.