If this article sounds similar to a recent experience that you or a loved one have suffered from, please don't hesitate to contact us online or call 859-578-4444 to schedule a free consultation!\r\n\r\nAttorney Ronald E. Johnson of\u00a0Schachter & Hendy\u00a0concentrates on legal issues regarding medical issues.\u00a0\u00a0The New York Times\u00a0recently reported that the\u00a0Food and Drug Administrationapproved a new drug from Johnson and Johnson that fights three forms of arthritis caused by immune-system disorders.\r\nThe new medication is called Simponi.\u00a0 It is a follow-up drug to Remicade, also marketed by Johnson & Johnson in the US and Europe, and in other countries by Schering-Plough Corporation, that brought in $5 billion last year.\r\nThe new drug can be used for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis, all chronic disorders involving the immune system attacking joints.\u00a0 Simponi is made to be injected under the skin once a month, and given with other drugs that suppress the immune system.\u00a0 It is intended for use in combination with the immunosuppressant drug methotrexate in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. It also may be used with or without methotrexate for psoriatic arthritis and alone in patients with ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic inflammatory arthritis of the spine.\r\nSimponi is in a class of drugs that targets and neutralizes tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-\u03b1).\u00a0 This is a protein that, when overproduced in the body due to chronic inflammatory diseases, can cause inflammation and damage to bones, cartilage and tissue.\u00a0 Simponi includes a boxed warning alerting patients and health care professionals to the risk of tuberculosis and invasive fungal infections with use of the drug.\r\nThe\u00a0FDA\u00a0also required a risk evaluation mitigation strategy (REMS) for Simponi, as it required for other TNF-\u03b1 blockers. The REMS for Simponi includes a Medication Guide for patients and a communication plan to help prescriber\u2019s understand the drug\u2019s risks.\u00a0 The most common adverse reactions to Simponi include upper respiratory tract infection, sore throat and nasal congestion.\r\nAccording to the\u00a0New York Times, Johnson & Johnson and Schering have described the drug as the new standard of so-called tumor necrosis factor blockers, a group of drugs that includes Enbrel from Wyeth and Amgen, and Humira from Abbott Laboratories. Unlike Simponi, those drugs are generally injected once every week or two weeks.\r\nThe website,\u00a0https:\/\/arthritis.about.com\/od\/arthritismedications\/a\/drug_safety.htm\r\nhas safety tips for patients using arthritis.\u00a0 They suggest that it is up to patients to make sure the drugs they use are safe.\u00a0 They should fully understand the prescription after discussing it with both their doctor and their pharmacist.\u00a0 It is important for the medication to be taken on time every day to make sure their work correctly.\u00a0 Patients should talk to their doctors each time they seem them about their medication.\r\nThey stress that it is up to the patient to understand new prescriptions and to know the possible side effects.\u00a0 They have 10 safety tips:\r\n1. Become familiar with the name of the medication and write notes on the strength and directions yourself\r\n2. Don't be shy about making the doctor take extra time with you so you understand why you are taking this particular medication\r\n3. Ask the doctor the time frame, how long before you will see improvement\r\n4. Ask for samples of medications\r\n5. List all your medications and the possible side effects and\u00a0 understand how the medications interact with each other\r\n6. In a journal, write down the date, times of day you take your medications, how you feel before and after you take them, and make notes of other pertinent details or questions you have formulated. Show your journal\/symptom diary to your doctor at your next appointment.\r\n7.\u00a0 Safely dispose of medications with other toxic substances to protect the environment\r\n8.\u00a0 Always double-check your medication against pharmacy errors\r\n9.\u00a0 Check the FDA website to make sure your medication is safe\r\n10.\u00a0 Patients should be aware of contraindications, meaning some patients should take certain arthritis medications\r\n11.\u00a0 Patients should research the effects of alcohol on their medication\r\n12.\u00a0 In a journal, write down the date, times of day you take your medications, how you feel before and after you take them, and make notes of other pertinent details or questions you have formulated. Show your\u00a0 \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 journal\/symptom diary to your doctor at your next appointment.