Highlights for infliximab
Infliximab is an injected drug used to treat Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and plaque psoriasis.
The dose depends on the condition you’re treating. You won’t receive your next dose until 2 weeks after your first dose. Doses may become even more spread out after that.
Common side effects include respiratory infections, coughing, headaches, and stomach pain.
Don’t use infliximab if you have an infection. If you catch a cold or infection while taking this drug, call your doctor. Don’t try to treat it yourself. Infliximab may decrease your body’s ability to fight infections.
If you carry the hepatitis B virus, it can become active while you use infliximab. If the virus becomes active again, you’ll need to stop taking the drug and treat the infection.
What is infliximab?
Infliximab is a prescription drug. It’s available as an injectable solution.
It may be combined with methotrexate when being used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Why it's used
Infliximab is used to treat:
- Crohn’s disease—when you haven’t responded to other drugs
- ulcerative colitis—when you haven’t responded to other drugs
- rheumatoid arthritis—used with methotrexate
How it works
This medication works by blocking the action of a protein in your body called tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). TNF-alpha is made by your body’s immune system. People with certain conditions have too much TNF-alpha. This can cause the immune system to attack healthy parts of the body. Infliximab can block the damage caused by too much TNF-alpha.
infliximab Side Effects
Most Common Side Effects
The most common side effects that occur with infliximab include:
respiratory infections, such as sinus infections and sore throat
Serious Side Effects
If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
heart failure. Symptoms may include:
- difficulty breathing
- swelling of your ankles or feet
- rapid weight gain
blood problems. Symptoms may include:
- bruising or bleeding very easily
- fever that does not go away
- looking very pale
nervous system problems. Symptoms may include:
- vision changes
- weakness of your arms or legs
- numbness or tingling of your body
allergic reactions/infusion reactions. May occur up to 2 hours after the infusion of infliximab. Symptoms may include:
- skin rash
- swelling of your face, lips, or tongue
- fever or chills
- problems breathing
- chest pain
- high or low blood pressure (dizzy or feeling faint)
delayed allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:
- muscle or joint pain
- sore throat
- swelling of face or hands
- difficulty swallowing
psoriasis. Symptoms may include:
- red, scaly patches or raised bumps on the skin
signs of infection. Symptoms may include
- fever or chills
- sore throat
- pain or difficulty passing urine
- feeling extremely tired
- warm, red, or painful skin
Infliximab does not cause drowsiness.
Mild side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if they’re more severe or don’t go way.
infliximab May Interact with Other Medications
Infliximab can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. Your healthcare provider will look out for interactions with your current medications. Always be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, herbs or vitamins you’re taking.
How to Take infliximab (Dosage)
Your doctor will determine a dose that’s right for you based on your condition and weight. Your general health may affect your dose. Tell your doctor about all health conditions you have before your doctor or nurse administers the drug to you.
You’ll be given infliximab through a needle placed in a vein (IV or intravenous infusion) in your arm.
If You Don’t Take It at All
If you don’t take infliximab, your condition may not improve and it may get worse.
If You Stop Taking It
Your condition may get worse if you stop taking infliximab.
If You Take Too Much
Only a healthcare provider should prepare the medicine and give it to you. Taking too much of the drug is unlikely. However, make sure to discuss your dose with your doctor at each visit and come in for follow-up appointments.
What to Do If You Miss a Dose
It’s important not to miss your dose. Call your doctor if you’re unable to keep your appointment.
How to Tell If the Drug Is Working
You may be able to tell this drug is working if your symptoms get better. For Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, you may have fewer symptoms flare-ups. For arthritis, you may be able to move around and do tasks more easily.
Infliximab is a long-term drug treatment.
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- REMICADE- infliximab injection, powder, lyophilized, for solution. (2015, January). Retrieved from http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=a0a046c1-056d-45a9-bfd9-13b47c24f257
Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group
Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on May 26, 2015