Autoimmune disorders are painful and disruptive – conditions like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus, inflammatory bowel disease and more bring symptoms that upset the balance of patients’ lives.
And these conditions aren’t rare – in fact, as of 2012, more than 50 million Americans and counting were diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
Traditionally, these diseases and disorders have been treated with immunosuppressive medications that, while effective, risk serious side-effects because of the long-term, high-dose nature of treatment.
However, for inflammatory conditions like RA, a new and innovative class of medications could provide answers.
Leveraging Biologics to Counteract the Inflammation Process
Biologics are essentially genetically engineered drugs that “target proteins known to be involved (joint inflammation).”
While these new therapies have delivered new glimmers of hope for patients with conditions like RA, who would typically be likely eventually find themselves in a wheelchair and significant pain, that remission might be possible.
Types of Biologics
There are four categories of biologics:
- Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors
- Interleukin (IL) inhibitors
- B-cells inhibitors
- T-cells inhibitors
The word “inhibitor” is the operative one, as these medicines work to inhibit activity that leads to the painful inflammation and joint damage associated with RA and other inflammatory autoimmune diseases.
In short, TNF inhibitors block TNF activity, ensuring that the triggers associated with that activity don’t cause unnecessary joint pain, IL inhibitors target interleukin proteins that can lead to inflammation due to excess amounts in autoimmune patients, and B-cell and T-cell inhibitors target specific kinds of white blood cells to reduce the overall activity of the immune system.
Biologic therapies targeting these cells, along with cytokines, are also being evaluated for potential uses in the treatment of lupus patients, with the hope that these treatments could help prevent a “significant risk of toxicity and a wide range of morbidities” associated with traditional treatments.
The Challenge – Biologics Must Be Delivered via Infusion or Injection
It’s clear that biologics present an exciting frontier in the treatment of autoimmune conditions, offering a chance for better patient outcomes, remission and more.
However, there’s a catch – these treatments must be delivered through infusion or injection.
Put simply, biologics can’t survive traditional oral delivery. If they were to be taken orally, they would degrade in the patients’ gastrointestinal tract and fail to reach the bloodstream, where they’re needed to provide their cutting-edge benefits.
And these treatments, particularly in the case of infusion, aren’t easy.
Infusion treatments can vary in frequency and time, though they often take between 30 minutes and several hours per treatment.
That’s a long time for a patient.
So, how can you provide a comfortable experience for patients during some of the most trying times of their lives? Patients should be empowered and given every opportunity and tool to own their treatment.
To that end, Champion is proud to provide medical seating solutions that offer that elevated experience for patients while also being tailored for preparedness in acute situations.
It should be the mission of everyone involved to ensure patients are provided with every comfort, innovation and tool possible during lengthy infusion treatments.
To learn more about how Champion is working toward that core mission, visit championchair.com/seating.