Autoimmune diagnosis, treatment, and maintenance require a lifelong commitment to your health and wellness. Pharmacy Advantage understands and embraces this philosophy with our designated therapy management programs. Our expertise range includes: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, and Ankylosing Spondylitis.

As a flourishing specialty pharmacy, we realize the importance of helping physicians manage patients identified with multiple autoimmune conditions that require focused therapies and tailored care. It is for this reason that Pharmacy Advantage counsels all patients on proper medication use, storage requirements, adverse effects, precautions and dosing parameters.

Our compassionate team also proactively follows up to monitor therapy outcomes, assess financial assistance needs and encourage therapy adherence. Home or office delivery is provided free of charge and a 24/7 customer support line is available as an added method of safety and convenience. At Pharmacy Advantage our goal is to go above and beyond in patient care.

About Autoimmune Disorders

An autoimmune disorder is a condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune disorders.

Examples of autoimmune (or autoimmune-related) disorders include, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, diabetes type 1, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, Graves' disease, celiac disease.

About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory condition. RA is a long-term disease that causes inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues. It can also affect other organs. The condition can affect many tissues throughout the body, but the joints are usually most severely affected. It is considered a chronic condition, meaning it can last for years.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis has several special features that make it different from other kinds of arthritis. For example, Rheumatoid Arthritis generally occurs in a symmetrical pattern. This means that if one knee or hand is involved, the other one is also. The disease often affects the wrist joints and the finger joints closest to the hand. It can also affect other parts of the body besides the joints. In addition, people with the disease may have fatigue, occasional fever and a general sense of not feeling well (malaise).

Another feature of Rheumatoid Arthritis is that it varies a lot from person to person. For some people, it lasts only a few months or a year or two and goes away without causing any noticeable damage. Other people have mild or moderate disease, with periods of worsening symptoms, called flares and periods in which they feel better, called remissions. Still others have severe disease that is active most of the time, lasts for many years and leads to serious joint damage and disability.

Although Rheumatoid Arthritis can have serious effects on a person's life and well-being, current treatment strategies--including pain relief and other medications, a balance between rest and exercise, and patient education and support programs - allow most people with the disease to lead active and productive lives. In recent years, research has led to a new understanding of Rheumatoid Arthritis and has increased the likelihood that, in time, researchers can find ways to greatly reduce the impact of this disease.

Common symptoms:

Tender, warm, swollen joints. Symmetrical pattern. For example, if one knee is affected, the other one is also. Joint inflammation often affecting the wrist and finger joints closest to the hand; other affected joints can include those of the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles and feet.

Fatigue, occasional fever, a general sense of not feeling well (malaise). Pain and stiffness lasting for more than 30 minutes in the morning or after a long rest.

Symptoms that can last for many years.

Symptoms in other parts of the body besides the joints.

Variability of symptoms among people with the disease.

Source: National Institutes of Health

Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Genetic (Inherited) Factors Scientists have found that certain genes that play a role in the immune system are associated with a tendency to develop Rheumatoid Arthritis. At the same time, some people with Rheumatoid Arthritis do not have these particular genes, and other people have these genes but never develop the disease. This suggests that a person's genetic makeup is an important part of the story but not the whole answer. It is clear, however, that more than one gene is involved in determining whether a person develops Rheumatoid Arthritis and, if so, how severe the disease will become. Environmental Factors Many scientists think that something must occur to trigger the disease process in people whose genetic makeup makes them susceptible to Rheumatoid Arthritis. An infectious agent such as a virus or bacterium appears likely, but the exact agent is not yet known. Note, however, that Rheumatoid Arthritis is not contagious: A person cannot "catch" it from someone else. Other Factors Some scientists also think that a variety of hormonal factors may be involved. These hormones, or possibly deficiencies or changes in certain hormones, may promote the development of Rheumatoid Arthritis in a genetically susceptible person who has been exposed to a triggering agent from the environment. Even though all the answers aren't known, one thing is certain: Rheumatoid Arthritis develops as a result of an interaction of many factors. Much research is going on now to understand these factors and how they work together.

Source: National Institutes of Health

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment and Medications

Doctors use a variety of approaches to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis. These are used in different combinations and at different times during the course of the disease and are chosen according to the patient's individual situation. No matter what treatment the doctor and patient choose, however, the goals are the same: relieve pain, reduce inflammation, slow down or stop joint damage, and improve the person's sense of well-being and ability to function.

Treatment is another key area for communication between patient and doctor. Talking to the doctor can help ensure that exercise and pain management programs are provided as needed and that drugs are prescribed appropriately. Talking can also help in making decisions about surgery.

Goals of treatment:

  • Relieve pain
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Slow down or stop joint damage
  • Improve a person's sense of well-being and ability to function

Current treatment approaches:

  • Lifestyle
  • Medications
  • Surgery
  • Routine monitoring and ongoing care

Medications

Most people who have Rheumatoid Arthritis take medications. Some medications are used only for pain relief; others are used to reduce inflammation. Still others--often called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, or DMARDs, are used to try to slow the course of the disease. The person's general condition, the current and predicted severity of the illness, the length of time he or she will take the drug, and the drug's effectiveness and potential side effects are important considerations in prescribing drugs for Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Traditionally, Rheumatoid Arthritis therapy has involved an approach in which doctors prescribed aspirin or similar drugs, rest, and physical therapy first, and prescribed more powerful drugs later only if the disease became much worse. Recently, many doctors have changed their approach, especially for patients with severe, rapidly progressing Rheumatoid Arthritis. This change is based on the belief that early treatment with more powerful drugs, and the use of drug combinations in place of single drugs, may be more effective ways to halt the progression of the disease and reduce or prevent joint damage.

Surgery

Several types of surgery are available to patients with severe joint damage. The primary purpose of these procedures is to reduce pain, improve the affected joint's function, and improve the patient's ability to perform daily activities. Surgery is not for everyone, however, and the decision should be made only after careful consideration by patient and doctor. Together they should discuss the patient's overall health, the condition of the joint or tendon that will be operated on, and the reason for and the risks and benefits of, the surgical procedure. Cost may be another factor. Commonly performed surgical procedures include joint replacement, tendon reconstruction, and synovectomy.

Joint replacement

This is the most frequently performed surgery for Rheumatoid Arthritis, and it is done primarily to relieve pain and improve or preserve joint function. Artificial joints are not always permanent and may eventually have to be replaced. This may be an issue for younger people.

Tendon reconstruction

Rheumatoid Arthritis can damage and even rupture tendons, the tissues that attach muscle to bone. This surgery, which is used most frequently on the hands, reconstructs the damaged tendon by attaching an intact tendon to it. This procedure can help to restore hand function, especially if the tendon is completely ruptured.

Synovectomy

In this surgery, the doctor actually removes the inflamed synovial tissue. Synovectomy by itself is seldom performed now because not all of the tissue can be removed, and it eventually grows back. Synovectomy is done as part of reconstructive surgery, especially tendon reconstruction.

Source: National Institutes of Health

Biologic Response Modifiers ("Biologics")

  • Actemra
  • Cimzia
  • Enbrel
  • Humira
  • Kineret
  • Orencia
  • Remicade
  • Simponi
  • Xeljanz

The information on this site is intended to provide useful health and wellness information and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical advice from a qualified physician. If you are having health issues and concerns, contact a licensed physician or healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment. For questions or concerns regarding your medications please contact your pharmacist.

Medications

  • Actemra
  • Cimzia
  • Enbrel
  • Humira
  • Kineret
  • Orencia
  • Remicade
  • Simponi
  • Xeljanz

The information on this site is intended to provide useful health and wellness information and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical advice from a qualified physician. If you are having health issues and concerns, contact a licensed physician or healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment. For questions or concerns regarding your medications please contact your pharmacist.

Patient Enrollment Form

Use the online Enrollment Form to order your prescriptions from Pharmacy Advantage and enroll in our Mail Order program. Mail your original prescriptions to:
Pharmacy Advantage Corporate HQ
Attn: New Member Enrollment
735 John R. Road, Suite 150
Troy, MI 48083

The information on this site is intended to provide useful health and wellness information and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical advice from a qualified physician. If you are having health issues and concerns, contact a licensed physician or healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment. For questions or concerns regarding your medications please contact your pharmacist.

Dermatology Medication Request Form

Rheumatology Infusion and Oral Medication Request Form

Rheumatology Injectable Medication Request Form

General Medication Request Form

Crohns Ulcerative Colitis Medication Request Form

Physician Order Form

The information on this site is intended to provide useful health and wellness information and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical advice from a qualified physician. If you are having health issues and concerns, contact a licensed physician or healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment. For questions or concerns regarding your medications please contact your pharmacist.

Resources and Support

Financial Assistance

The staff at Pharmacy Advantage understands that prescription drugs can be expensive, especially for specialty medications. We are committed to helping our patients find ways to get the specialty medications they need, at prices they can manage. Pharmacy Advantage is dedicated to finding patient funding whenever possible in order to eliminate interruptions in therapy due to concerns over drug costs.

There are patient assistance programs for people who meet any of the following criteria:

  • Have insurance with a high co-pay
  • Incur a high deductible
  • Have Medicare or are eligible for Medicare
  • Have no prescription drug coverage and live on a limited income
  • Have lost their job

Many of our patients are currently enrolled in a co-pay assistance program and our clinical staff members would like to assist them in finding the program that best fits their needs. In order to receive assistance each program does have certain criteria that need to be met. The clinical staff at Pharmacy Advantage is happy to work with you in order to assist in completing the necessary steps.

If they are not currently enrolled and would like to discuss their options, please contact the clinical department at (800) 456-2112 extension 5, Monday thru Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Programs From Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Manufacturers

The following is a list of some drug manufacturers that offer financial assistance programs for people living with Rheumatoid Arthritis who cannot afford to buy the medications they have been prescribed. You are encouraged to call these manufacturers directly for more information on these programs. If you need financial assistance for a drug not listed here, please contact one of our pharmacists.

Drug Name Manufacturer Telephone Number and website information:

Drug Name Manufacturer Phone Number
Actemra Genentech USA 1-800-228-3672
Cimzia UBC 1-866-4-CIMZIA
Enbrel Amgen 1-800-282-7752
Humira Abbott 1-800-222-6885
Kineret Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB 1-866-773-5274
Orencia Bristol-Myers-Squibb 1-800-ORENCIA
Remicade Centocor 1-888-222-3771
Simponi Janssen Biotech, Inc. 1-877-697-4676
Xeljanz Pfizer 1-866-706-2400

The information on this site is intended to provide useful health and wellness information and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical advice from a qualified physician. If you are having health issues and concerns, contact a licensed physician or healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment. For questions or concerns regarding your medications please contact your pharmacist.