A biological medicine, or biologic, is a type of treatment for some long-term medical conditions like axial spondyloarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Unlike traditional medications like ibuprofen or paracetamol, biologic medicines are made from living organisms. The material they are made from can come from many sources, including humans, animals and microorganisms such as bacteria or yeast.
Biologics are a type of ‘targeted therapy’ and are specifically designed to block certain parts of the immune system. Because they are proteins, these medications cannot be given as a tablet. Instead they are given via an injection under the skin or into the blood.
Biological therapies are only given to people who have already tried other treatments appropriate to their condition and not responded well to them. Biological therapies are often given alongside other medications such as methotrexate.