Remicade Infusion Therapy
Remicade (infliximab) is a medication used to treat Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Remicade helps decrease inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis. For Crohn’s disease, Remicade can help in decreasing symptoms and achieving remission in patients who have not adequately responded to other medical therapies.
Remicade is injected into a vein, a procedure called an infusion. Infusions take about three to four hours in an outpatient setting at Norton Women's and Children's Hospital and Norton Brownsboro Hospital. The infusions are typically given every eight weeks. When patients begin receiving treatment with Remicade, they usually are prescribed treatments at two weeks and six weeks after the first infusion.
Remicade is a very potent drug with the potential for side effects, which may occur during or after the infusion. Severe infections, including tuberculosis, pneumonia and sepsis, have been reported in patients taking Remicade. Tell your doctor if you have had or have been exposed to tuberculosis. Testing for tuberculosis is generally done before initiating treatment with Remicade.
Patients with heart failure generally should not be treated with Remicade. Tell your physician if you develop shortness of breath or new swelling of your ankles or feet. Rare reports of liver injury, blood disorders, lymphoma and other cancers as well as neurologic disease have occurred in patients receiving Remicade. Additional important information is available at www.remicade.com.
Allergic reactions to the protein in Remicade may be seen at any time during treatment.
Acute reactions (less than 24 hours after infusion)
During the infusion some patients may experience a reaction. Symptoms 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 infusion or taking acetaminophen, antihistamines, steroids and/or epinephrine. Your physician may recommend specific medications prior to your next infusion to decrease your possibility of having another reaction.
Delayed reactions (24 hours to 14 days after infusion)
A reaction can occur after the infusion is completed. Symptoms generally include muscle or joint aches, itching, rash, fever and fatigue, and can be relieved by taking acetaminophen, antihistamines and steroids. If you experience these symptoms after your infusion, your physician may recommend specific medications prior to your next infusion to decrease your possibility of having a delayed reaction.