Infliximab (Remicade)

What is it?

Infliximab is a Disease Modifying Anti Rheumatic Drug (DMARD), one of the new class called biologic response modifiers.

FDA approved:

November 1999 (for RA)

Brand Names and
International Availability:

Remicade (US)

How does it work?

Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha is a cytokine that plays a significant role in the inflammatory process in rheumatoid arthritis. Infliximab is an antibody that blocks the effects of TNF- alpha, thus reducing inflammation. Preliminary studies have demonstrated that infliximab can
actually retard the destruction of joints by rheumatoid arthritis.

Dosage:

Infliximab is administered via IV. The recommended dose for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis is 3 mg/kg per dose. The initial dose should be followed by doses two and six weeks after the first dose. The maintenance dose is given every eight weeks.

How should I take
it?

It will be given in the doctor’s office or out patient clinic.

Contraindications:

Infliximab should not be used in patients with serious infections.

Drugs
Interactions:

Since this drug is new the interaction with other drugs has not been studied.

There are no studies
in pregnancy and/or nursing mothers. Use only if the benefit outweighs
the unknown risk.

Possible side
effects:

These side effects are not considered serious but are certainly annoying for those experiencing them. The most frequently reported side effects include headache, nausea and vomiting, stomach upset, and tiredness.

More serious side effects that you should report right away include cough or congestion, sinusitis, fever and any other signs or infection, low or high blood pressure, rash, chest pain and shortness of breath.

The drug is
relatively new, so long term side effects may not yet be known.

Precautions &
Special Notes:

Infliximab has been noted to increase the chance of serious infection. Report any and all signs of infection right away.

For more
information:

RxList:
Infliximab

Remicade.com
Pharm
Info Net: Infliximab


References:
Mosby’s GenRx?, 10
th
ed. Copyright ? 2000 Mosby, Inc.
RxList.com