Your healthcare team has discussed the following subject with you: infliximab. The brand name is Remicade. Here is some additional information. Let us know if you have any questions regarding this information.
How it works: This medication belongs to a class of drugs called biologics. It helps to reduce irritation and swelling (inflammation) in the intestines. In some cases, this medication is used by itself. In other cases, this medication is used together with another medication to achieve better results. This medication is also considered an anti-TNF drug, which means that it targets a specific protein in your body called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) that causes inflammation in your intestines.
How it is taken: It is injected into a vein in a procedure called an infusion. The infusion is given at a certified infusion center and lasts approximately 2 to 4 hours. Your healthcare team may adjust the dose and how often you receive it, but typically it is given once every 8 weeks. It may take up to 8 weeks after starting this medication to see an improvement in your symptoms. However, a lot of people see improvement sooner.
Possible side effects: During the infusion (less than 24 hours after the infusion) some patients experience a reaction, which can include fever, chest pain, heart palpitations, sweating, nausea, flushing, itching, changes in blood pressure, and difficulty breathing. These reactions usually go away by slowing the rate of the infusion or taking medications such as acetaminophen, anti-histamines, steroids, or epinephrine. If you experience any of these during the infusion, let your healthcare team know immediately. Your healthcare team will likely recommend you take these medications before your next infusion to decrease the possibility of having another reaction.
A reaction can occur after the infusion (24 hours to 14 days after infusion) as well. Symptoms may include muscle or joint aches, itching, rash, fever, and fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms, tell your healthcare team immediately. These symptoms may go away by taking acetaminophen, anti-histamines, or steroids. Your healthcare team will likely recommend you take these medications before your next infusion to decrease your possibility of having another reaction.
Special considerations: There have been reports of serious infections, including tuberculosis. Anti-TNF medications have been associated with a small risk of lymphoma, an uncommon cancer. Live vaccines should be avoided when using immune-suppressing medicines like this one.
Monitoring: Be sure to get tested for tuberculosis and Hepatitis B before taking this medication. Your provider may check routine labs like blood count, liver enzymes, kidney function and inflammatory markers while on this medication.
Points to remember: Before taking this medication, let your doctor know about other medical conditions that you may have or other medications (even over-the-counter medications or complementary therapies) you may be taking.
Other tips: The best way to control your disease is by taking your medication as directed. Even when you do not have any symptoms, it is very important to continue taking your medication to prevent your disease from becoming active again. Do not alter the amount of the medication or how frequently you take it on your own. If you have any side effects or you continue to have symptoms, speak to your healthcare team immediately.
For further information, please check out http://www.ibdmedicationguide.org/ or follow this link: