Remicade (infliximab) is a prescription drug that’s used to treat certain autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Remicade can cause side effects that range from mild to serious. Examples include infection, headache, and infusion-related reactions.

Remicade is prescribed to treat:

Remicade is a biologic, which means it’s made from parts of living organisms. Its active ingredient is infliximab. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) The drug comes as a solution for intravenous (IV) infusion. This is an injection that’s given over time through a vein.

Keep reading to learn about the common, mild, and serious side effects that Remicade can cause. For a general overview of the drug, including details about its uses, see this article.

Some people may experience mild or serious side effects during their Remicade treatment. Examples of a few of Remicade’s commonly reported side effects include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

Examples of mild side effects that have been reported with Remicade include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

In most cases, these side effects should be temporary. And some may be easily managed, too. But if you have any symptoms that are ongoing or that bother you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. And don’t stop Remicade treatment unless your doctor recommends it.

Remicade may cause mild side effects other than the ones listed above. See the Remicade prescribing information for details.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Remicade, visit MedWatch.

Although possible, serious side effects from Remicade are rare. It is important that you are aware of the possible serious side effects that may occur. This way, if you develop a serious side effect, you can contact your doctor right away. Serious side effects that have been reported with Remicade include:

If you develop serious side effects while receiving Remicade, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

Remicade is approved to treat Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC) in children 6 years and older. It’s not approved for use in children younger than 6 years old. It’s also not approved to treat psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis, or rheumatoid arthritis in children.

In children receiving Remicade for UC, most side effects were similar to those reported in adults. However, children experienced more frequent infections.

In children receiving Remicade for Crohn’s disease, the following side effects were reported more often than in adults:

If you have questions about which side effects to watch for while your child is receiving Remicade, talk with their doctor.

Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Remicade’s side effects.

Are teeth problems or hair loss possible side effects of Remicade?

No, teeth problems and hair loss are not side effects of Remicade. These side effects weren’t reported in studies of people receiving this medication.

But Remicade may weaken your immune system, which can increase your risk of infections. These may include infections in your teeth and gums. Your risk of these infections may be higher if you have dental work done during Remicade treatment.

If you need to have any dental procedures done, or if you notice any pain or swelling in your gums, contact your dentist. Your dentist can also give you tips for taking care of your teeth and mouth, which can help prevent infections.

Note: Another drug used to treat certain autoimmune conditions, called methotrexate (Trexall), may cause hair loss. This hair loss may be permanent, or your hair may come back after stopping treatment.

Does Remicade cause weight gain or weight loss?

Changes in weight were not reported in studies of people receiving Remicade. But if you notice that your weight is changing, you should talk with your doctor. In some cases, weight loss or gain may be a sign of other side effects of Remicade.

Remicade can cause heart failure or worsen existing heart failure. A symptom of heart failure can be swelling, which may cause weight gain.

Remicade may also increase your risk of infection. Serious infections can cause symptoms that include weight loss. If you lose weight without trying, your doctor may want to verify that you have no infections.

Be sure to tell your doctor about any changes in your weight during Remicade treatment. They can determine what may be causing it and how to manage it.

Will I experience withdrawal symptoms if I stop Remicade treatment?

No, you will not experience withdrawal symptoms from stopping Remicade treatment. Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that can happen when you stop taking a drug that your body has become dependent on. (With drug dependence, your body needs the drug to feel like it usually does.)

However, stopping Remicade treatment may cause symptoms of your condition to return. For example, if you’re receiving Remicade for rheumatoid arthritis, stopping the drug may cause your symptoms (such as joint pain) to return.

If you’d like to stop Remicade treatment, talk with your doctor. They can recommend the best treatment plan for you.

Are there any long-term side effects of Remicade?

Yes, it’s possible that Remicade may cause you to have long-term side effects. These may include:

If you have any side effects from Remicade that are lasting a long time or that you’re concerned about, talk with your doctor. In some cases, they may recommend that you stop Remicade and try a different treatment.

* Remicade has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). See “Side effects explained” below for details.

Will Remicade cause changes in my mood?

It’s not likely. Sudden changes in mood weren’t reported during studies of Remicade.

If you’re concerned about Remicade affecting your mood, talk with your doctor. They may recommend monitoring you more often than usual for mood changes.

Learn more about some of the side effects Remicade may cause.

Infusion-related side effects

You may have infusion-related side effects from Remicade. These are reactions that occur during an intravenous (IV) infusion or within about an hour after stopping an infusion.

Infusion-related side effects were common in people who took Remicade in studies.

Examples of infusion-related side effects that may occur include:

  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
  • headache
  • rash

It’s also possible for you to develop rare but serious infusion-related side effects, including:

What might help

If you have any infusion-related side effects during or after an infusion, tell your doctor. If your reaction is serious (such as if you have difficulty breathing or chest pain), your doctor may recommend a different treatment for your condition.

If you have more common infusion-related side effects (such as flushing or a headache), your doctor may recommend certain medications before your Remicade infusions to help prevent these side effects. These medications may include Tylenol (acetaminophen).

Talk with your doctor about the best way to reduce any infusion-related side effects you have.

Liver damage

You may develop liver problems or liver damage during treatment with Remicade. In some cases, liver damage can be severe.

It’s possible that Remicade may increase your liver enzyme levels, which may be a sign of liver damage. In rare instances, Remicade may also lead to more severe liver damage. This can include developing liver failure or hepatitis.

What might help

If you notice any symptoms of liver damage, be sure to tell your doctor right away. Symptoms may include:

  • yellowing of the whites of your eyes or your skin
  • abdominal pain
  • fatigue (low energy)

If you have a history of hepatitis or any liver conditions, be sure to tell your doctor before you start Remicade treatment.

During treatment with Remicade, your doctor will do blood tests to monitor your liver enzyme levels. If the levels become too high, your doctor may recommend more testing. Or they may recommend stopping Remicade and trying a different drug to treat your condition.

Cancer

Remicade has a boxed warning for cancer occurring during or after treatment. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Although rare, it’s possible to develop cancer from receiving Remicade. The most common types of cancer reported in studies of Remicade are:

Symptoms vary depending on the kind of cancer. In general, symptoms may include fatigue, unexplained weight loss, and night sweats.

Cancer occurred more in children and young adults receiving Remicade than in older adults.

Remicade can weaken your immune system. Your risk of cancer may also be higher if you’re receiving Remicade along with other medications that may also weaken your immune system.

What might help

If you develop any symptoms of cancer during Remicade treatment, tell your doctor right away. They’ll also monitor you throughout your treatment for any cancer symptoms.

Serious infections

Remicade has a boxed warning for serious infections. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.

Although infections are a common side effect of Remicade, serious infections are less common. You should watch for symptoms of infection while you’re receiving Remicade, and tell your doctor if you notice any symptoms. Symptoms may include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing

What might help

If you develop symptoms of an infection while receiving Remicade, tell your doctor. They’ll determine whether you need medication to treat the infection and help prevent it from becoming severe.

You should not receive Remicade if you have an active infection or if you have tuberculosis. These infections need to be treated before you start receiving Remicade.

If you develop a serious infection during your treatment with Remicade, your doctor may recommend that you stop treatment.

Allergic reaction

Like most drugs, Remicade can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

What might help

If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may suggest a treatment to manage your symptoms.

This may include an over-the-counter antihistamine that you take by mouth, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine). Or they may recommend a product that you apply to your skin, such as hydrocortisone cream.

If your doctor confirms you had a mild allergic reaction to Remicade, they’ll decide whether you should continue receiving the drug.

If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or difficulty breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.

If your doctor confirms you had a serious allergic reaction to Remicade, they may have you switch to a different treatment.

Keeping track of side effects

During your Remicade treatment, consider keeping notes on any side effects you’re having. Then, you can share this information with your doctor. This is especially helpful to do when you first start taking new drugs or using a combination of treatments.

Your side effect notes can include things such as:

  • what dose of drug you were taking when you had the side effect
  • how soon after starting that dose you had the side effect
  • what your symptoms were from the side effect
  • how it affected your daily activities
  • what other medications you were also taking
  • any other information you feel is important

Keeping notes and sharing them with your doctor will help your doctor learn more about how Remicade affects you. And your doctor can use this information to adjust your treatment plan if needed.

Be sure to tell your doctor about any other medical conditions that you have before you start Remicade treatment. In some cases, Remicade may not be recommended. Below are some conditions that you should be sure to discuss with your doctor before starting Remicade.

Boxed warnings

Remicade has boxed warnings about cancer and serious infections. Boxed warnings are the most serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

  • Cancer. Remicade may increase your risk of cancer, especially lymphoma. This is a kind of cancer that affects your lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system.
  • Serious infections. Remicade can increase your risk of serious infections. And if you already have an infection, Remicade can make it worse.

To learn more, see the “Side effects explained” section above.

Other warnings

Remicade may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you start Remicade treatment. The list below includes factors to consider.

Hepatitis B or tuberculosis (TB). If you have a history of hepatitis B or TB, be sure to tell your doctor before you start Remicade. Your doctor will likely test you for these conditions before you start receiving the drug. This is because the drug may reactivate the hepatitis B virus or TB bacterium if it’s already present in your body. So these conditions may need to be treated before you start receiving Remicade.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Remicade or any of its ingredients, you should not receive Remicade. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.

Liver conditions. Remicade may cause liver damage. If you have liver problems, Remicade may make your condition worse. Your doctor will monitor your liver health throughout your treatment with Remicade. If you have signs of liver damage, they may recommend stopping Remicade and trying a different treatment.

Heart failure or other heart problems. If you have heart failure or other heart problems, tell your doctor before you start Remicade. This medication may cause heart failure to get worse. It can also increase your risk of a heart attack.

Your doctor may monitor your heart throughout your treatment with Remicade. But if you have severe heart failure or if your heart condition gets worse with Remicade, your doctor may recommend a different treatment.

A lung condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If you have COPD, tell your doctor before you start Remicade. Remicade may increase your risk of lung cancer if you also have COPD. Your doctor may monitor you more often than usual during your Remicade treatment or recommend a different treatment option.

A nervous system condition, such as multiple sclerosis (MS). Remicade may worsen nervous system (brain and spinal cord) conditions, such as MS. If you have a nervous system condition, your doctor may monitor it throughout your treatment with Remicade. If your condition gets worse, they may recommend a different treatment plan for you.

Alcohol and Remicade

There aren’t any known interactions between alcohol and Remicade. However, Remicade can cause liver damage. Since alcohol may also affect your liver, your risk of serious liver problems may be higher if you have the two together.

Also, long-term alcohol consumption may weaken your immune system. Remicade may weaken your immune system as well, which can increase your risk of infection.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much, if any, is safe for you to drink during Remicade treatment.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while receiving Remicade

It may be safe to continue Remicade infusions throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Remicade is not thought to cause fetal development problems (commonly known as birth defects). But if received during the third trimester, the drug may affect a newborn’s immune system.

A small amount of Remicade may pass into breast milk if the drug is received while breastfeeding. However, the drug is not thought to increase infections or cause problems in children who are breastfed.

If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant or breastfeed, tell your doctor before you start receiving Remicade.

Before starting Remicade treatment, you should talk with your doctor about any questions that you may have about Remicade’s side effects. Here are some questions you may wish to ask:

  • Will you change my dose of Remicade if I have side effects from the drug?
  • How should I treat side effects that I experience from Remicade?
  • What should I do if I become pregnant while receiving Remicade?

To learn more about Remicade, see these articles:

To get information on different conditions and tips for improving your health, subscribe to any of Healthline’s newsletters. You may also want to check out the online communities at Bezzy. It’s a place where people with certain conditions can find support and connect with others.

Q:

Do I have a higher risk of side effects if I receive Remicade along with other medications for my condition?

Anonymous

A:

It’s possible. You should avoid certain medications with Remicade (such as tocilizumab) because they can increase the risk of serious side effects.

Many people in studies of Remicade took more than one medication for their condition at the same time. No differences in side effects were reported based on whether people took Remicade only or Remicade with another medication.

Make sure to talk with your doctor about all of the medications you take before starting Remicade treatment. They can make sure that your medications are safe to take together.

The Healthline Pharmacist TeamAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
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