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5 0 1 0 6. DMARDs can «fundamentally change the process of how the disease attacks the body,» says Eric L. Matteson, MD, chair of rheumatology at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn. There are a variety of DMARDS and they can be divided into two groups: older, conventional synthetic drugs or the newer biologics, which are genetically engineered versions of antibodies or proteins that can neutralize harmful inflammation in the body. There are pros and cons to each drug, and one that works well may eventually stop working, and you may need to switch.

Or, the side effects of one drug may prompt a switch to another. Prescribing the right medication for a patient can be a trial-and-error process, but «in principle every patient should be on a DMARD because thats the best chance of getting the disease under control,» says Dr. Here is a selection of DMARDs you may encounter during treatment for RA. Abatacept, approved at the end of 2005, is one of the newer biologics.

It contains a synthetic protein that interferes with the immune system cells, known as T cells. By reducing the activity of these T cells, abatacept lessens inflammation and joint damage. It interferes with the way cells talk to each other,» Dr. The drug usually starts to work within three months.