General Information on Remicade
Remicade, with active ingredient infliximab, belongs to a class of drugs known as tumor necrosis factor inhibitors. The drug is used for treating various diseases caused due to inflammation such as Crohn’s disease, plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. The body naturally produces a chemical named as TNF alpha. This chemical holds importance in the immune system of the body and is known to be responsible for inflammation. The drug works by blocking the production of TNF alpha, thus reducing inflammation. Remicade is prescribed in cases where other drugs fail to work.
Precautions/side effects of Remicade
Remicade has the active ingredient infliximab. Patients allergic to infliximab should refrain from using this drug. An allergic reaction to the drug can cause skin rashes, hives etc. Patients using anakinra or abatecept should also refrain from using this drug. Apart from that, patients with liver disease, heart disease, weak immune system, epilepsy, diabetes or a history of cancer should inform the physician before taking this drug. Any vaccines such as BCG vaccine or others should be taken after consultation with a doctor while on this drug.
Remicade is also known to react with certain other medications such as drugs used for treating psoriasis, azathioprine, mercaptopurine etc. Patients on any of these drugs should inform the physician before taking Remicade.
Remicade is a Category B pregnancy drug, which means it is relatively safe for the fetus as well as the newborn. However, pregnant women as well as women who are breastfeeding should take this drug only after consulting a doctor as it can have an adverse effect on the unborn as well as the newborn child.
The drug is also known to have certain side effects such as skin rashes, runny or stuffy nose, pain in the abdomen etc. However, in certain cases, the drug may result in severe side effects such as pain the chest, muscle pain, blurred vision, numbness in the feet or arms, breathlessness, seizures, jaundice etc. If any of these symptoms show up after taking the drug, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
Important safety information
- The drug is known to increase the risk of lymphoma, which is a kind of cancer. The risk factor should be discussed with a doctor before taking the medicine.
- Remicade lowers the count of red blood cells in the body, thus lowering the immunity level of the body. Crowded places as well as places with high level of bacterial or other infections should be avoided wile on this drug.
- Patients with tuberculosis or a history of tuberculosis should refrain from taking this drug.
- While on this drug, the physician should be informed well in advance prior to any surgical procedure.
Dosage of Remicade
Remicade is available in 100 mg vials. The usual prescribed dose of Remicade for treating Crohn’s disease is 5 mg per kg of body weight every alternate week for a period of 6 weeks. The usual dosage for treating ulcerative colitis is the same. The usual dosage of the drug for treating rheumatoid arthritis is 3mg per kg of body weight every alternate week for a period of 6 weeks. However, the actual dosage may vary depending on the case at hand and the response of the patient.
The drug is administered as an intravenous injection. The drug should not be self administered. The drug is usually administered over the course of 2 hours to check for any serious side effects.
Storage of Remicade
Remicade should be stored in a refrigerator at a temperature between 2 degree and 8 degree Celsius. However, it should not be allowed to freeze. The drug should not be used if frozen or if beyond the expiry date.