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The Ultimate Guide To Remicade Infusion

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How Remicade works, how long it takes to work, cost, side effects, and more.

Remicade is the brand name for a monoclonal antibody (infliximab) used to treat several autoimmune diseases including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis (in combination with methotrexate), Ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and plaque psoriasis.

Below, find information on:

  • How Remicade works
  • How long Remicade takes to work
  • How much Remicade infusions cost
  • How Remicade compares to other medications (Inflectra, Entyvio, Stelara)

How Remicade works

Remicade inhibits the action of a protein produced by the immune system known as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), which causes the immune system to attack healthy parts of the body. Those suffering from certain diseases may have too much TNF-alpha.

Full prescribing information from Janssen can be found here.

READ MORE: Remicade Infusion: What To Expect & How To Prepare

Conditions Remicade is prescribed for

  • Ulcerative Colitis: inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in which inflammation is present in the colon (large intestine)

  • Crohn’s disease: inflammatory bowel disease in which inflammation is present in the digestive tract

  • Rheumatoid arthritis: a condition causing pain and inflammation in the joints and other parts of the body

  • Psoriatic arthritis: a form of chronic inflammatory arthritis that affects those with the skin condition psoriasis

  • 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

How to get a physician referral for Remicade

First, take a trip to your doctor’s office to discuss potential risk factors. Tell your doctor if:

  • You believe you have an infection. Remicade infusion is not recommended for people with infections as this can trigger the worsening of the infection.
  • You’re undergoing an infection treatment or have recurrent infections
  • There are sores or open cuts on your body
  • You’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or have an immune system disorder
  • You have tuberculosis (TB) or have been in close contact with someone who does
  • You live or have lived in an area where certain types of fungal infections such as blastomycosis are common
  • You've been diagnosed with Hepatitis B
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You’re experiencing chest pain/shortness of breath and/or have existing heart problems (including heart failure)
  • You use biologics (other medications that treat the same diseases Remicade does) such as Orencia (abatacept), Kineret (anakinra), or Actemra (tocilizumab)

Once your doctor has cleared you to use Remicade and provided a referral, you can proceed to book an infusion appointment. 

How long Remicade takes to work

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 from a healthcare professional to confirm its continued efficacy.

READ MORE: How Long Does It Take For Remicade Infusions To Work?

How much Remicade infusion costs

The cost of Remicade can range between $3k-$12k per treatment, totaling upwards of $50k-150k per year — although keep in mind that the amount you’ll pay out-of-pocket depends on a variety of factors, including your site of treatment (hospital, infusion center, home infusion) and insurance coverage.

READ MORE: How Much Does Remicade Infusion Cost?

Potential side effects of Remicade

Acute (i.e. immediate) infusion-related reactions that may develop during treatment in adult patients (and typically subside over time) include flu-like symptoms (e.g., fever/sweating and sinus infections/sore throat), blood pressure variations, nausea, and itching. IBD patients who develop antibodies to infliximab have a higher risk of developing acute allergic reactions.

Delayed reactions that develop within 3-12 days after infusion may include muscle/joint pain, tiredness, stomach pain, and rashes.

If you're worried about rare but more serious infections, side effects, or medical conditions such as weight gain, nervous system disorders, liver injury/liver failure, hepatosplenic t-cell lymphoma or skin cancer, please let your dedicated Infusion Guide know. We'd be happy to discuss further with you and provide medical advice.

Also, keep in mind that select reactions to Remicade can be managed using meds (epinephrine, diphenhydramine, acetaminophen, etc).

If you are taking Remicade, you cannot receive live vaccines (flu, Covid, etc) or receive treatment with weakened bacteria (e.g., BCG for bladder cancer).

How Remicade compares to other medications

Inflectra vs Remicade

Inflectra and Remicade are two biological medications used to fight chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorders, including Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The FDA approved Inflectra as a biosimilar to Remicade based on the review of clinical safety and effectiveness data.

Both these biologic drugs treat the same autoimmune disorders. They’re infused into your vein and are often given once every six to eight weeks. They’re both TNF blockers, meaning they work the same way by blocking a protein called tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha. There aren’t any clinically meaningful safety or effectiveness differences between them.

READ MORE: Inflectra vs Remicade: What’s The Difference?

Entyvio vs Remicade

Entyvio and Remicade are biosimilars, meaning they are highly similar biological medications (although they belong to different drug classes). Entyvio is a brand name prescription medication that belongs to a drug class called integrin receptor antagonists, while Remicade belongs to a drug class called tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha inhibitors.

READ MORE: Entyvio vs Remicade: What’s The Difference?

Stelara vs Remicade

The main difference between these medications is that Stelara requires one initial intravenous infusion dose, followed by maintenance subcutaneous injections every 8 weeks. Remicade, on the other hand, requires intravenous doses at weeks 0, 2, and 6, followed by maintenance doses every 8 weeks.

READ MORE: Stelara vs Remicade: What's The Difference?

Interested in Remicade treatment at Local Infusion?

Local Infusion offers modern, state-of-the-art centers with private suites, designed with your comfort in mind.

From questions on what to expect in your first treatment, to providing financial guidance and support, a dedicated Infusion Guide works with you and your physician to provide clear answers and assistance every step of the way. Plus, we take care of everything having to do with prior authorization

We’ll reach out within hours of a physician referral and get you digitally on board in less than two minutes, allowing our staff more time to focus on you.

Should you have questions regarding pricing and insurance, our team will work with you to provide financial assistance support and minimize costs, providing a simple and stress-free experience.

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