Recent research has shown that switching from biologics to biosimilars in rheumatoid arthritis is safe and effective. And it could also provide a more affordable treatment alternative. Read more about what this could mean for patients with RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects approximately 1.3 million individuals in the United States, making it one of the most common autoimmune diseases. The treatment of RA often involves biologics, which are a type of medication that targets specific molecules produced by the immune system. However, biologics can be expensive, making them inaccessible for some patients. Biosimilars, which are similar but not identical copies of biologics, have been developed as a more affordable alternative.
Biosimilars have been studied extensively and have been shown to be as effective as their reference products in the treatment of RA. For example, CT-P13, a biosimilar of infliximab, has demonstrated similar clinical efficacy and safety profiles in patients with RA according to a study published in Future Medicine In addition, studies have shown that patients who were switched from infliximab to CT-P13 showed no difference in disease activity, safety, or immunogenicity compared to those who remained on infliximab.
Switching between approved biologics and biosimilars of TNFis has become an increasingly common practice. Switching can occur for a variety of reasons, including cost savings and changes in insurance coverage. As mentioned earlier, studies have shown that switching from a biologic to a biosimilar is safe and effective. However, it is important to note that the safety and efficacy of switching between biosimilars is not yet fully understood and requires further investigation.
One concern regarding biosimilars is the potential for immunogenicity, or the development of an immune response against the medication. While the risk of immunogenicity is present with all biologics, biosimilars have a slightly higher risk because they are not identical copies of the reference product. The risk of immunogenicity has been shown to be low and not significantly different between biosimilars and their reference products. Furthermore, immunogenicity can be monitored and managed with appropriate dosing and monitoring strategies.
Current research in the field of biosimilars in RA is focused on further expanding the treatment options available to patients. For example, several biosimilars of rituximab, a biologic commonly used in the treatment of RA, are currently under development. These biosimilars may provide a more affordable alternative for patients who require treatment with rituximab. In addition, research is being done to investigate the safety and efficacy of biosimilars in combination with other biologics or non-biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to optimize treatment outcomes.
As research in the field of biosimilars continues, we may see additional treatment options become available for patients with RA. It is important for healthcare providers to stay up –to date on the latest research and guidelines in this area to provide the best possible care for their patients.
Infliximab Biosimilar CT-P13 Effectively Treats Rheumatic Disease. HCP Live website. https://www.hcplive.com/view/infliximab-biosimilar-ct-p13-effectively-treats-rheumatic-disease. Accessed August 31, 2023.
Safety and effectiveness of intravenous CT-P13 in inflammatory arthritis: post-marketing surveillance study in Thailand. Future Medicine website. https://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/full/10.2217/imt-2022-0290. Accessed August 31, 2023.
TNFi Switching Is Safe, Effective for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Study Suggests. Center for Biosimilars website. https://www.centerforbiosimilars.com/view/tnfi-switching-is-safe-effective-for-rheumatoid-arthritis-study-suggests. Accessed August 31, 2023.