If you have certain autoimmune conditions, your doctor might suggest Remicade (infliximab) as a treatment option for you.

Remicade is a prescription medication that’s used to treat the following conditions:

Remicade is a biologic, which means it’s made from parts of living organisms. It comes as a solution that’s given by intravenous (IV) infusion. This is an injection that’s given over time through a vein.

If Remicade works to treat your condition, you’ll likely take the drug long term. For more information about Remicade, including details about its uses, see this in-depth article on the drug.

Like other drugs, Remicade infusions can cause mild or serious side effects. Keep reading to learn more.

Some people may experience mild or serious side effects during their Remicade treatment. Examples of a few of Remicade’s commonly reported side effects may 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, so that you can contact your doctor right away if you develop any of them. Serious side effects that have been reported with Remicade include:

If you develop serious side effects while taking 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.

* Remicade has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
† 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 taking Remicade for UC, most side effects were similar to those reported in adults. However, children experienced more frequent infections.

In children taking 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 taking 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 taking 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 help you be sure that you take good 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 taking 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 can cause existing heart failure to get worse. A symptom of heart failure can be swelling, which may cause you to gain weight.

Remicade may also increase your risk of infection. Serious infections can cause symptoms that include weight loss, in some cases. 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 while you’re taking Remicade. They can help 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. Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that can happen when you stop taking a drug that your body has become dependent on.

However, stopping Remicade treatment may cause symptoms of your condition to return. For example, if you’re taking 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 taking 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 taking Remicade. These are infusion reactions that occur during an 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 your infusion or after an infusion, tell your doctor. If your reaction is serious (such as if you have trouble 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 acetaminophen (Tylenol).

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. More rarely, 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
  • belly pain
  • fatigue (low energy)

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

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).

Rarely, it’s possible to develop cancer from taking Remicade. The most common types of cancer seen in studies of Remicade are:

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

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

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

What might help

If you develop any symptoms of cancer while you’re taking Remicade, 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, severe infections are more rare. You should watch for symptoms of infection while you’re taking Remicade, and tell your doctor if you notice any symptoms. Symptoms may include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • trouble breathing

What might help

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

You should not take Remicade if you have an active infection or if you have tuberculosis. These infections need to be treated before you start taking 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 you apply to your skin, such as hydrocortisone cream.

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

If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or trouble 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 taking Remicade. 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 severe infections. And if you already have an infection, taking 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 take Remicade. 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 taking Remicade. This is because the drug may reactivate the hepatitis B virus or TB if it’s already present in your body. So these conditions may need to be treated before you start taking Remicade.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Remicade or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take 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 may 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 use the two together.

Long-term alcohol use may also 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 while you’re taking Remicade.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Remicade

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

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

A small amount of Remicade may pass into breast milk if the drug is taken 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 either, tell your doctor before you start taking Remicade.

Before taking Remicade, 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:

  • Can my doctor 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 taking Remicade?

To learn more about some of the conditions Remicade treats, sign up for Healthline’s inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis newsletters.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.