Remicade® (infliximab)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: June 2022 | Last updated: July 2022

Remicade is a prescription medication classified as a biologic. Remicade is indicated for reducing signs and symptoms in patients with active ankylosing spondylitis. Remicade is also approved to treat Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and plaque psoriasis.1

What is the ingredient in Remicade?

The active ingredient in Remicade is infliximab, a tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitor.1

How does Remicade work?

In people with AS, chronic inflammation occurs at the joints, primarily the joints in the spine but AS may also affect other joints in the body. AS can also cause other complications in the body, including complications involving the heart or the lungs.2,3

One of the proteins in the body that is involved in the inflammatory response is TNF. In people with AS, there is an excess or abnormal inflammatory response and elevated levels of TNF. Remicade binds to TNF-alpha blocking its action. Blocking TNF can help reduce the inflammation and help relieve the symptoms of AS.1

What are the possible side effects of Remicade?

The most common side effects experienced by patients taking Remicade include infections (such as upper respiratory infections and sinusitis), infusion-related reactions (such as rash or shortness of breath), headache, and abdominal pain.1,4

Remicade can cause side effects, and some of these possible side effects can be serious. Because TNF is involved in the normal immune response of inflammation, taking a TNF blocker like Remicade can make it harder to fight certain infections. Some people have experienced serious infections with Remicade, including tuberculosis (TB), bacterial sepsis, invasive fungal infections, and opportunistic infections. Some of these serious infections may lead to hospitalizations or death.1

Remicade may increase the risk of developing lymphoma or other types of cancer. This risk may be increased in children and young adults.1,4

This is not an exhaustive list of all potential side effects of Remicade. For more information, patients should talk to their doctor about what to expect. Any new or worsening side effects should be reported to a doctor or healthcare professional.

Things to know about Remicade

Before starting treatment with Remicade, patients should talk to their doctors about all their medical conditions, especially if they:1,4

  • Have TB or have been around someone with TB
  • Lived in a region where certain fungal infections are common
  • Have frequent infections, diabetes, or an immune system problem
  • Have had any type of cancer
  • Have heart failure or any heart condition
  • Have or have previously had a hepatitis B infection
  • Have a nervous system disorder, like multiple sclerosis or Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • Are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, are breastfeeding, or plan to breastfeed

Before beginning treatment with Remicade, patients should talk to their doctors about all medications (over-the-counter and prescription), vitamins, and supplements they are taking, especially any other biologic medications. Some medications or supplements may increase the risk of side effects if taken in combination with Remicade.1,4

Patients should be tested for TB before beginning treatment with Remicade.1

If an infection occurs while taking Remicade, patients should contact their doctor. If the infection becomes serious, treatment with Remicade may be stopped.1,4

Patients taking this medication should not receive live vaccines.1

During treatment with Remicade, patients should be monitored for any possible heart problems, nervous system disorders, infections, cancer, and liver functioning.1

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