INTRODUCTION FOR PATIENTS

iQone Healthcare Switzerland is offering therapeutic solutions that include a range of biosimilar therapies. What these compounds are is explained hereafter.

Biologics

Biological medicines, or biologics, are active compounds produced by living cells such as human blood cells. They are called biological medicines because they mimic substances produced by the human body, such as antibodies, which fight diseases. They are designed to target the specific cause of inflammation. Since the late 1980s, biologics have been used as treatments against autoimmune diseases, cancer and chronic diseases.

Biosimilars

A biosimilar is a biological medicine which has a sufficient similarity to another already approved biological medicine (the ‘reference medicine’ or ‘originator product’). The active substance is essentially the same biologic substance although there may be slight differences originating from the differences in the production. The differences between a biosimilar and its reference medicine has no impact on safety and efficacy. They are approved by health authorities according to the same standards that apply to all biological medicines. Biosimilars provide their therapeutic effects at lower prices, contributing to savings in healthcare.

IMMUNE DISEASES

Autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system of the body attacks and destroys its own healthy body tissue. Today innovative treatments are being developed in order to target chemicals involved in immune responses with greater specificity and fewer side effects.

IMMUNOLOGY IN RHEUMATOLOGY:
RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of joints. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of joints. Inflammation damages the cartilage which become eroded. Joint damage develops gradually, leading over time to deformities. Consequently, RA causes pain, stiffness, swelling and eventual destruction of affected joints, leading to severe disability and premature mortality. Approximately 1% of people develop RA which commonly starts between the ages of 40 and 60.

IMMUNOLOGY IN GASTROENTEROLOGY:
ULCERATIVE COLITIS

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a widespread inflammatory disease of the intestine. It is a chronic, autoimmune condition that develops in the large intestine and follows a course of relapse and remission. Ulcers tend to develop often in places where there is inflammation. UC can often be prevented from flaring up by taking anti- inflammatory medication. UC has an incidence of approximately 10 per 100,000 people annually and a prevalence of about 240 per 100,000. It most commonly first develops between the ages of 10 and 40, with a second, smaller peak between 55 and 65 years.

IMMUNOLOGY IN DERMATOLOGY:
PSORIASIS AND PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS

Psoriasis is a chronic, non-contagious and painful inflammation of the skin. It develops as patches, or plaques, of red, scaly skin and tends to come and go
throughout life. This autoimmune disease causes skin cells to grow too quickly and the body is not able to shed these excess cells. It flares up from time to time. The most common areas of the skin to be affected are over elbows and knees, the scalp and the lower back. Plaques may appear anywhere but usually not on the face. There is no definitive cure for psoriasis. Treatments aim to clear the rash as much as possible. About 2 in 100 people develop psoriasis at some stage of their life. It is most common between the ages of 15 and 30 years or in the age group 50 to 69. The incidence varies from 80 to 230/100,000 person-years. Psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects 15% to 25% of people who have psoriasis. Joint pain, stiffness and swelling are the main symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. In both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, disease flares may alternate with periods of remission.

IMMUNOLOGY IN RHEUMATOLOGY:
ANKYLOSING  SPONDYLITIS

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory form of arthritis which primarily affects the lower back but can spread higher up the spine and turns into chronic inflammation. It is characterized by inflammation of the joints of the spine, as well as the associated ligaments, tendons and surrounding areas, causing considerable pain and swelling. If left untreated, the disease eventually leads to fusion of the vertebrae. It typically starts between the ages of 20 and 30 years.
Prevalence ranges from 0.1 to 2% of the population. AS is more common in Europe, Asia and North America than in Latin America and Africa.
There currently is no cure, the aim of treatment is essentially symptomatic. Newer powerful medicines that suppress the immune system lessen the damaging effects of AS on the joints. Biological medicines, also called biologics, have proven effective in treating AS.
In AS, such a physiological compound is the cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) which is involved in inflammation and is the target of medical treatment. Some medicines called TNF-alpha inhibitors are effective in AS. They block the action of this cytokine, thus reducing inflammation and preventing damage to the joints.

IMMUNOLOGY IN GASTROENTEROLOGY:
CROHN’S DISEASE

Crohn’s disease (CD) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the wall of the gut. Any part of the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus can be affected, most commonly the end part of the small and large intestine /. There are periods of acute exacerbation, interspersed with remissions or less active disease.
In CD, a physiologic compound called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) is involved in the inflammation process. Biologics are used to block the action of this chemical which mediates inflammation and therefore suppress CD’s activity.
CD is diagnosed in about 10 in 100,000 people in Europe every year. About 145 in every 100,000 people have the disease. It most commonly starts between the ages of 15 and 30; the second, smaller age peak is between 50 and 70 years.