Remicade is an FDA-approved medication that helps treats treat specific kinds of diseases and medical conditions. Continue reading to better understand how — and how long — it takes to work.
What is Remicade?
Remicade is an intravenous infusion that helps treat certain autoimmune diseases (where the immune system of the body attacks healthy tissues and organs). It falls under a class of drugs referred to as TNF blockers, Antipsoriatics, Systemic; DMARDS, Immunosuppressants, and inflammatory bowel disease agents.
This prescription medication is used to treat symptoms of the following conditions:
- Ulcerative Colitis
A kind of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in which inflammation is present in your colon (large intestine). Remicade is used to reduce signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis in children six years and older and adult patients who have not responded well to other medicines.
- Crohn’s disease
Another kind of inflammatory bowel disease, but in this case, the inflammation is present in the digestive tract. Remicade reduces signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease in adults and children who are at least six years of age. In adult patients with Fistulizing Chron's disease, Remicade reduces the amount of draining enterocutaneous (an abnormal connection between the intestine and skin) and rectovaginal fistulas (an abnormal connection between the anus and vagina).
- Rheumatoid arthritis
A condition in which the patient experiences pain and inflammation in the joints and other parts of the body. Remicade, taken (or prescribed) along with methotrexate, helps limit structural damage and boosts physical function.
- Psoriatic arthritis
A form of chronic inflammatory arthritis that affects those with the skin condition psoriasis. Remicade reduces the signs and symptoms of chronic inflammatory arthritis while limiting structural damage and boosting physical function.
- Ankylosing spondylitis
A form of arthritis that mostly affects the spine.
- Plaque psoriasis
A form of psoriasis that causes red itchy patches to form on the skin. Remicade is used in the treatment of chronic, severe, extensive, and/or disabling plaque psoriasis.
Remicade is passed into the body intravenously. Biosimilars (drugs made with similar active ingredients) of Remicade include Inflectra and Reflenix.
Before receiving Remicade, you should inform your doctor if you have any infections, if you are at risk of infection, or if you are being treated for an infection.
READ MORE: Inflectra vs Remicade: What's The Difference?
How does Remicade work?
In the above conditions, the immune system is fighting against healthy tissues. Remicade works by blocking the tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), which is one of the regulators of inflammatory responses. Once introduced, Remicade helps reduce inflammation by weakening the immune system to prevent it from attacking healthy tissues.
How long will I be on Remicade?
Depending on what you're treating, you may be on Remicade for several weeks to several months. For some conditions like IBD, you may need to be on Remicade for the long term, in which case you’ll need constant reassessment to confirm its continued efficacy.
Ultimately, only your doctor can give you a specific timeframe for how long you’ll need to be on Remicade.
Timeline for Remicade administration
Remicade’s first infusion happens in no less than two hours at the infusion center. Premedication could include acetaminophen. The dosage is determined by your weight, medical history, and treatment response. Following the first dose, the next dose is taken two weeks later, then another dose is administered in six weeks. From there, a maintenance dose is administered every eight weeks (or every six weeks for Ankylosing spondylitis), as prescribed by a healthcare professional.
Common side effects of Remicade
Some common side effects include:
- Upper respiratory tract infections
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Stomach pain
The above side effects are typically mild and will resolve within a couple of days or weeks. If that's not the case, please speak with your healthcare professional.
If you have questions about the potential for rare but more serious side effects (shortness of breath, nervous system disorders, worsening psoriasis, allergic reactions, chest pain, joint pain, lupus-like syndrome, lymphoma, skin cancer, heart failure, serious infections, fungal infections, hepatitis b reactivation), let your dedicated Infusion Guide know.
There is insufficient information on the concomitant use of Remicade with biological therapeutics used in treating the same medical conditions that Remicade treats. Live vaccines should also not be given to patients receiving anti-TNF therapy.
Also, infections and serious infections may be caused by the interaction of Remicade with drugs like Orencia (abatacept) and anakinra.
READ MORE: Remicade Infusion: What to Expect and How to Prepare
Interested in learning more about the administration of Remicade at Local Infusion?
If Remicade is part of your autoimmune disease treatment plan, then consider Local Infusion for your ongoing care. We make it possible to receive therapy in a modern, state-of-the-art center with private suites thoughtfully designed with your comfort in mind.
You also get a dedicated Infusion Guide to support you on your treatment journey and provide medical advice every step of the way. Your guide is there to provide you with clear answers to any of your questions, including expectations for your first treatment session and how you can access financial support for your treatments.
READ MORE: Why Local Infusion