TNF Blockers

Question

I am reading about TNF blockers such as Humira, Enbrel, Remicade and others. I have crohns and was just wondering what the difference is in the different types of TNF blockers and why they work for some illnesses and not others. What is the difference in Enbrel or Humira vs, Remicade that it will not work for crohns? Just trying to lower my medical bills.

Answer

The monoclonal antibodies against TNF (Remicade, Humira) appear to work much better for Crohn’s disease compared with Enbrel, a soluble receptor that binds TNF. All three drugs clear TNF from the circulation so why this is, is not completely understood. Some have postulated that the size of the drug molecule has an effect, with the monoclonal antibodies being much smaller and this able to penetrate the tissues better, In addition, there may be differnces between the drugs for the treatment of skin psoriasis as well.

Alan Matsumoto, M.D.

About Alan Matsumoto, M.D.

Part-time Faculty, Division of Rheumatology
Johns Hopkins University