What Is Remicade?
The brand name of the generic drug infliximab, Remicade is an artificial monoclonal antibody that reduces inflammation caused by certain autoimmune disorders. It belongs to a group of drugs called biological response modifiers or tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). These medications block the action of a substance known as TNF-alpha which is responsible for inflammation. Remicade is approved for treatment of autoimmune disorders (conditions where the immune system fails to recognize and attacks healthy body parts causing swelling, pain, and damage).
Infliximab was approved by the FDA in August 1998 and is currrently not available in generic form. It is supplied in the powdered form for injection containing 100 mg of infliximab. It needs to be reconstituted with sterile water for intravenous injection and administered by a medical professional.
Remicade is primarily prescribed to help relieve symptoms of certain autoimmune disorders that include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis (a chronic, disabling condition wherein the body attacks healthy tissues in the join, causing swelling, pain, stiffness, and loss of function) that is treated with methotrexate (Rheumatrex)
- Chron’s disease (an inflammatory bowel disease characterized by sores and swelling in the large intestine) in adults and children older than 6 years that who have not responded to other treatments
- Ulcerative colitis (an inflammatory bowel disease characterized by sores and swelling in the large intestine) in adults and children older than 6 years that who have not responded to other treatments
- Ankylosing spondylitis (a type of arthritis in the back causing pain and joint damage)
- Psoriasis (a skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches in some parts of the body)
- Psoriatic arthritis (a condition in which a person has both psoriasis and arthritis).
- Behcet’s disease (a condition that causes ulcers in the mouth and on the genitals), and sciatica caused by slipped discs.
Take note that Remicade does not provide cure for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and Crohn’s disease. It only relieves the bothersome symptoms common with these inflammatory conditions. However, this medication can help delay the destruction of joints in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Your healthcare provider may also prescribe this medication for other purposes not discussed in this medication guide. Do not discontinue taking this medication without talking with your healthcare provider.
How Remicade Works
Inflixamib works as an antibody that helps manage symptoms and delay progression of several autoimmune conditions. It works by interfering with the action of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha). TNF alpha is a substance produced by the body and plays a significant role in the inflammatory process. By blocking the effects of TNF-alpha, Remicade effectively relieves the signs and symptoms inflammation common in certain chronic inflammatory diseases.
How to Take Remicade
Remicade is supplied as a powder for injection which needs to be mixed with sterile water and administered through intravenous route (injected into a vein). It is usually given by a doctor or nurse in a healthcare setting. The drug is administered by injection over at least 2 hours, once every 2 to 8 weeks. During the initial treatment, the drug is administered more frequently, and then gradually reduced to every 8 weeks or as directed by your healthcare provider.
If you are administering this drug to yourself at home, be sure to learn the safe method of preparing and injecting this medication. Read the usage instructions provided by your pharmacist, nurse or doctor. Before taking each dose, check the medication visually for any unusual changes such as discoloration or particles. In case of discoloration or presence of particles, do not use the liquid. Store your medication and dispose used medical supplies safely.
Some patients are prescribed with other medications before administering Remicade, be sure to use them as instructed. Take all your medications as directed.
For this drug to be effective, use it regularly and avoid missing doses. Mark the dates in your calendar or make a schedule when you need to administer Remicade.
If symptoms persist or your condition worsens, consult your healthcare provider.
Important Things To Remember When Using Remicade
- Do not use this medication if you have any known allergies to infliximab or murine (mouse) protein-containing medications. If you doubt a medication you use contains murine proteins, talk with your healthcare provider.
- Inform your healthcare provider of all the drugs you take (both prescription and over-the-counter drugs that include vitamins, herbal products, and nutritional supplements). Do not start taking any new medication without approval of your healthcare provider.
- Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever been diagnosed with congestive heart failure (a condition characterized by the heart’s inability to completely pump blood into the other parts of the body). Remicade may be contraindicated in your condition.
- Inform your healthcare provider if you have or have ever had certain medical condition such as multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, optic neuritis, seizures, numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in any part of the body, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, other heart diseases, and bleeding problems. Also, tell your doctor if you have been treated with phototherapy (a dermatologic treatment wherein the skin is exposed into ultraviolet light, common for psoriasis patients)
- If you become pregnant or plan to be pregnant, or are breast-feeding while taking Remicade, consult your healthcare provider.
- Before submitting yourself to any surgical procedure, including dental surgery, be sure to tell your doctor about use of Remicade.
- Inform your healthcare provider if you have recently received a vaccine. Do not take any new vaccinations without consulting your healthcare provider.
- Delayed allergic reactions can occur even after 3 to 12 days of receiving treatment. Contact your healthcare provider if you experience any allergy symptoms such as fever; rash; muscle or joint pain; itching; hives; swelling of the lips, face, or hands; sore throat; headache; and difficulty swallowing.
- Remicade can decrease your body’s immune system possibly increasing your risk for very serious infections. Your healthcare provider may recommend skin testing for tuberculosis before and while on treatment. Inform your healthcare provider about any infections, current and past.
- Since the immune system is also crucial in the prevention and control of cancer, patients taking Remicade may also have an increased risk of developing cancer, although this is very rare. Consult your healthcare provider if you experience any symptom of cancer such as unexplained weight loss, unusual growths, swollen or painful abdomen, swollen glands, night sweats, or persistent fever.