4 Best DMARD Infusions for Rheumatoid Arthritis RA Side Effects Life Expectancy

What Is the Best Infusion for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?

Discover the top four DMARDs for rheumatoid arthritis infusion therapy, which aim to control symptoms, reduce complications, and improve quality of life and lifespan.

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are the most effective infusion therapy for rheumatoid arthritis.

To reduce inflammation, DMARDs target proteins or inflammatory chemicals produced on a cellular level.

The best biologic DMARDs for RA are administered through infusion. These medications work by targeting different parts of the immune system, with the shared goal of reducing inflammation, preventing joint damage, and slowing disease progression.

4 DMARDs for rheumatoid arthritis infusion therapy

Rituxan (rituximab)

  • Rituxan belongs to a class of biologics that target specialized immune cells called B cells. B cells produce auto-antibodies in RA, which damage healthy cells and tissues. Rituxan prevents B cells from producing auto-antibodies.
  • It is usually administered in two infusions, two weeks apart, with corticosteroids given intravenously beforehand to prevent side effects.
  • Infusions of Rituxan take three to four hours, with visible changes taking at least three months to appear.
  • Once effective, the benefits can last for 6 to 12 months or longer, with treatments often repeated every six months.
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Actemra (tocilizumab)

  • This biologic drug inhibits the binding of inflammatory proteins called cytokines to immune cells, reducing inflammation levels.
  • Actemra can be used alone or in combination with other DMARDs.
  • The infusion typically takes about an hour, with noticeable effects appearing in four to eight weeks.
  • If a lower initial dose is ineffective, the dose can be increased. Actemra is also available as a subcutaneous injection.

Orencia (abatacept)

  • This biologic drug inhibits a type of immune cell interaction known as co-stimulation, preventing inflammation at its source.
  • Orencia can be administered through infusion or subcutaneous injection. Initial doses are given at baseline, two weeks, and four weeks.
  • After the initial course, weekly subcutaneous doses or monthly intravenous doses are typical. Infusions last 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Improvements may be seen within three months and can last for the entire first year of treatment.

Remicade (infliximab)

  • Remicade is one of several biologics that target the inflammatory protein tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFA), which causes inflammation and bone erosion in RA.
  • It works by directly binding to TNFA, preventing its interaction with inflammatory immune cells.
  • Remicade is administered through intravenous infusion, initially every 15 days, and subsequently every eight weeks for maintenance.
  • Infusions last between two and four hours on average and are often used in conjunction with the DMARD methotrexate.


How effective is infusion therapy for RA?

Infusion therapy provides relief from RA symptoms for six months to a year. Session length depends on illness severity and medication type.

Many people prefer infusion therapy due to advantages such as decreased swelling, improved range of motion, increased energy, joint damage prevention, and reduced aches and pains.

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What are the possible side effects of infusion therapy in RA?

Infusion therapy is not suitable for all people with RA.

Although rare and usually non-severe, side effects may include dizziness, nausea, upset stomach, muscle stiffness, sweating, flu-like symptoms, neck and back pain, respiratory and skin infections, urinary tract infections, and allergic reactions.

If standard treatments are ineffective, doctors may recommend intravenous infusion therapy. Your eligibility will be assessed by your doctor.

Drugs That Slow
RA’s Progress

What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that affects small joints in the hands, wrists, and feet. It may also involve other joints and body parts.

RA symptoms include warm, swollen, and painful joints, morning stiffness or stiffness after inactivity, joint deformity, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite and weight, dryness in eyes and mouth, numbness and tingling in hands and feet, difficulty breathing, pale skin, depression, and chest pain or pressure.

Symptoms of RA can vary over time, with flare-ups and remissions occurring.

Can you live a long life with rheumatoid arthritis?

Yes, you can live a long life with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), although it may slightly shorten lifespan.

While RA itself is not fatal, it increases the risk of complications such as cardiovascular disease and infections. Proper treatment can control symptoms, reduce complications, and improve quality of life and lifespan.

To achieve a longer and better quality of life, follow your doctor’s advice, maintain a balanced diet, limit processed and sugary foods, avoid smoking, engage in physical activity, get enough sleep and rest, and maintain personal hygiene.

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