a number of drug commercials refer to the medication
that they are advertising as a biologic. Sounds natural
doesnít it. I was sure the use of this word is
trying to confuse the issue since vitamins,
alternative medicine and other natural substances are
so popular. Maybe not, but why use that word?
When you have competition, you
position against it. It is like the ad by one of the
leading toothpastes that says it will help
re-mineralize teeth. Now, that sounds like trying to
align with the alternative health information about what really decays
teeth and what can be done for the health of your
teeth and they are trying to
say that their toothpaste will help build healthy
teeth. But I canít find anything in their potion
that would allow the body to do that. Just look at the
ingredients on the toothpaste tube.
But what about this word Biologic.
Certainly the definition that comes to mind is Ė
"or relating to biology or living
organisms". Sounds good. But then at the end of
the commercial, they list off quite a few side effects
some of which are downright scary. Are we supposed to
be so afraid of psoriasis than weíd risk serious
But there is a special definition of
Biologic It is a Pharmacologic definition.
"Any substance, as a drug or
vaccine, derived from animal products or other
biological sources and used to treat or prevent
Okay, that sounds better than a
chemical drug created in a laboratory. But letís
find an example of a biologic.
Arthritis drugs: In this case the
Biologics are genetically-engineered proteins derived
from human genes. Genetically engineered? Ė doesnít
sound so natural anymore.
These drugs are designed to inhibit
specific components of the immune system that play
pivotal roles in fueling the inflammation of
arthritis. They block the protein that is found in the
bodyís immune system.
The truth is that biologics that come
from animal or other biological sources come with all
the co-factors of biology which in many cases are
complex mixtures that are not easily identified. Thus,
they canít be made in the laboratory.
This is thus used to fight arthritis,
psoriasis, crohnís disease, etc.
But, arenít there natural herbs that
will directly help the immune system reduce
What are the Side Effects of Biologics?
As with any drugs that suppress or
blocks the immune system, biologic therapy increases
infections and other diseases. Iím sure youíve
heard the rest of the side effects in the commercials.
There are a lot of drugs now called
biologics. Is it the better choice? Or does it just
sound that way in the commercials that are designed to
get you to ask your doctor to try their drugs.
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