Remicade® (infliximab) is a treatment option for patients who suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, who have not responded to other drug therapies. The drug is also used to treat various joint disorders as well as psoriasis.
With inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) your immune system becomes overactive and produces excess amounts of a protein called TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor alpha). TNF-alpha causes your immune system to attack healthy cells in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Remicade blocks the action of TNF-alpha preventing inflammation.
After the initial three starter doses, Remicade only requires as few as six treatments a year, meaning you will receive Remicade once every eight weeks.
What Are the Outcomes of Remicade Infusion?
Remicade works differently than other medications by targeting a specific protein in the body’s immune system which helps control inflammation. Remicade can reduce signs and symptoms, induce and maintain remission, promote intestinal healing and reduce or stop the need for steroids. People who take Remicade for their IBD symptoms usually experience a period of remission, an inactive time in the disease process.
Preparing for a Remicade Infusion
You will need to talk with your doctor or gastroenterologist to see if Remicade is right for you. Make sure you tell your doctor about your family’s medical history as well as any medications you are taking. Tell your doctor if you suffer from:
- Serious infections
- Heart failure
- Hepatitis B
- Liver injury
- Blood problems
- Allergic reactions to ingredients in Remicade
- Nervous system disorders including seizures, multiple sclerosis
Before a Remicade infusion, it is recommended that you get a good night’s sleep, consume ample fluids and eat breakfast or lunch before your treatment. A nurse will perform general assessment tests of your health and record your blood pressure, temperature, respiration, pulse and weight.
What Happens During Remicade Infusion?
Remicade is given by intravenous (IV) infusion. Dosage depends on how severe your ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease is as well as your weight. Your doctor will calculate the dose that is right for you. The nurse will prep your arm by sterilizing the area with rubbing alcohol. The IV needle will be inserted and held in place with tape. Remicade will be infused into your bloodstream. Vital signs will be monitored every 30 minutes during the infusion. During infusion, you’ll be carefully monitored by a nurse or other healthcare provider. This process usually takes about two hours.
What Happens After a Remicade Infusion?
The Remicade infusion process does not require sedation, so you should be able to resume your daily activities after treatment. After removing the IV from your arm, you may continue to be monitored after your infusion to make sure you’re not having a reaction to the medication.
Possible Side Effects of Remicade Infusion
- Abdominal pain
Rarely other, more serious side effects can occur. Make sure you review all of the potential side effects with your physician before undergoing Remicade treatment. Tell your physician immediately if you experience any symptoms you find worrisome.