Remicade (infliximab) is a biologic medicine that helps the pain and swelling of arthritis. It works by blocking TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor), a type of signalling protein (called a cytokine), that is involved in systemic inflammation. Remicade belongs to a class of similar medications called “Anti-TNF” agents.
Remicade is used in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Psoriasis, and other types of arthritis.
Remicade is administered by intravenous infusion at specialized clinics. Patients start by receiving infusions on week 0, week 2, and week 6, and after that, they receive infusions every 6 to 8 weeks depending on their doctor’s prescription. Infusions usually take about 2 hours. Some patients start to feel better quickly with Remicade, but in others, it can take a little longer. Its important for patients starting this medication to give it some time and keep receiving infusions as-prescribed.
A typical starting dose for Remicade is 3-5 mg per kilogram of body weight. The dose may be increased over time.
Remicade may be prescribed in combination with other rheumatology medications like methotrexate.
Important Tests and Risks
Remicade can make it a bit harder for people to fight off infections. Patients taking this medicine should call their doctor they have a fever, think they have an infection, or have been prescribed antibiotics to treat an infection.
Patients should coordinate with their doctor to stop treatment before any surgery, and re-start once things have healed and there’s no sign of infection.
Patients should discuss all vaccinations with their doctor because some are not advisable to receive while taking Remicade.
It is important to have a tuberculosis skin test done and get a chest x-ray before starting Remicade.
Patients who are taking Remicade should have occasional blood tests as requested by their doctor to keep track of their arthritis and make sure that blood counts are ok.
Drug Identification Number (DIN): 02244016 (IV)