The increasing insights into the pathogenetic mechanisms of inflammatory autoimmune
arthritis and the development of innovative systems of industrial production have led to discover
molecules that are able to target/block other molecules that play a critical role in the immune system
functioning, and that have been introduced in clinical practice alone and/or in addiction with other
“old” disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.
For this reason, such drugs are currently known as “biological drugs” and include molecules that
induce the immunosuppression acting on several immune pathways.
However, though the biological drugs have been employed from more than a decade, there still exist some drawbacks of
their use, in particular about the high costs of this therapy and their overall safety, including the route of administration for
the intravenous use.
In this review we provide an update on the correct use and current therapeutic indications of such drugs, including some
of the new biologic therapies that will be soon available for the clinical use, focusing on these biological drugs:
• Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitors (adalimumab, certolizumab-pegol, etanercept, golimumab and
• The T cell co-stimulation inhibitor, abatacept;
• The anti-CD20 receptor monoclonal B cell agent, rituximab;
• The interlukin-6 (IL-6) receptor-blocking monoclonal antibody, tocilizumab;
• The interlukin-1 (IL-1) inhibitor, anakinra;
• The interlukin-IL17 (IL-17) pathway inhibitors (ustekinumab, secukinumab, brodalumab).