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- What is infliximab, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for infliximab?
- Is infliximab available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for infliximab?
- What are the uses for infliximab?
- What are the side effects of infliximab?
- What is the dosage for infliximab?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with infliximab?
- Is infliximab safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about infliximab?
What is infliximab, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Infliximab is an antibody administered intravenously that is used for treating several chronic inflammatory diseases. Infliximab works by blocking the effects of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha), a substance made by cells of the body which has an important role in promoting inflammation. There are two other injectable drugs that block TNF alpha--adalimumab (Humira) and etanercept (Enbrel). Specifically, infliximab is used for treating the inflammation of
By blocking the action of TNF-alpha, infliximab reduces the signs and symptoms of inflammation. Infliximab does not cure Crohn's disease, psoriatic arthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Infliximab can retard the destruction of joints by rheumatoid arthritis. The FDA approved infliximab in August 1998.
What are the uses for infliximab?
Infliximab is used for reducing the signs and symptoms of inflammation in moderate to severe Crohn's disease and Crohn's disease in which there are fistulas (passageways created when the inflammation penetrates beyond the wall of the intestine).
It also is approved for the treatment of active psoriatic arthritis. Infliximab is helpful in reducing the joint inflammation of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, plaque psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis.
Infliximab is approved for use in pediatric patients with moderately to severely active Crohn's disease who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy.
What are the side effects of infliximab?
The most common side effects of infliximab include:
- upper respiratory tract infections,
- urinary tract infections,
- back pain,
- abdominal pain,
- weakness and
Other important side effects include:
Reactions listed above could indicate an allergy to the infliximab. They are more common among patients who develop antibodies to infliximab and are less likely to occur in patients who are taking drugs that suppress the immune system, such as methotrexate.
Infliximab should be discontinued if serious reactions occur. Serious infections have been reported with other drugs that block TNF- alpha, and infections have been reported during treatment with infliximab. Therefore, infliximab should not be used in patients with serious infections. Moreover, infliximab should be discontinued if a serious infection develops during treatment. Testing for tuberculosis (PPD tests for TB) should be doneprior to treatment with infliximab because of reports of reactivation of tuberculosis in patients taking infliximab. Such patients should be treated for tuberculosis.
Decreased white and red blood cell and decreased platelet counts have been reported with infliximab. Vasculitis (inflammation of the arteries) also has been reported.
Patients with Crohn's disease or rheumatoid arthritis, particularly patients with highly active disease and/or chronic exposure to immunosuppressant therapies, may be at a higher risk (up to several fold) than the general population for the development of malignant lymphoma. More malignancies have been observed in open-label, uncontrolled clinical studies at a rate several-fold higher than expected in the general population. In controlled studies of TNF-alpha blocking agents, including infliximab, more cases of lymphoma and other malignancies have been observed among patients receiving the agents than among control group patients.
Quick GuideRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment
What is the dosage for infliximab?
Infliximab is administered intravenously. The recommended dose is a 5 mg/kg infusion at 0, 2, and 6 weeks and then 5 mg/kg every 8 weeks for moderate to severe active Crohn's disease or fistulizing Crohn's disease in adult or pediatric patients. Adults who initially responded then lost response may be treated with 10 mg/kg.
The recommended dose for the treatment of moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis is 3 mg/kg at 0, 2, and 6 weeks followed by 3 mg/kg every 8 weeks. Infliximab should be combined with methotrexate. If response is incomplete, up to 10 mg/kg or treating every 4 weeks may be tried.
Ankylosing spondylitis is treated with a 5 mg/kg infusion at 0, 2, and 6 weeks then 5 mg/kg every 6 weeks.
Which drugs or supplements interact with infliximab?
Because infliximab may reduce the response of the immune system, it should not be administered with vaccines containing live bacteria or viruses. Combining infliximab with anakinra (Kineret), abatacept (Orencia) or tocilizumab (Actemra), drugs that also reduce the response of the immune system, may increase the risk of serious infections.
Is infliximab safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Use of infliximab in pregnant women has not been adequately evaluated.
It is not known if infliximab is secreted in breast milk, and, therefore, if there are effects on the nursing infant.
What else should I know about infliximab?
What preparations of infliximab are available?
Powder for intravenous injection, 100 mg
How should I keep infliximab stored?
Infliximab should be refrigerated at 2 C - 8 C (36 F - 46 F)
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
Quick GuideRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment
Infliximab (Remicade) is a drug prescribed for inflammation of Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis. Side effects, dosing, drug interactions, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
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Top infliximab Related ArticlesComplete List
Ankylosing SpondylitisAnkylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes chronic inflammation of the spine. The tendency to develop ankylosing spondylitis is genetically inherited. Treatment incorporates medications, physical therapy, and exercise.
Ankylosing SpondylitisWhat is ankylosing spondylitis? Take this quiz to learn the causes, symptoms, and treatments for this painful disorder.
ArthritisArthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness and pain. There are over 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, gout, and pseudogout.
Biological TherapyThe purpose of biological therapy is to boost the immune system to fight infection and disease. Types of biological therapy include monoclonal antibodies, interleukin-2 (IL-2), and colony-stimulating factors. Side effects of biological therapy may include flu-like symptoms, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Crohn's DiseaseCrohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease, primarily involving the small and large intestine, but which can affect other parts of the digestive system as well. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and weight loss are common symptoms.
IV Drug Infusion FAQsMany diseases may require IV drug infusion, including:
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PsoriasisPsoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales. There are several types of psoriasis, including psoriasis vulgaris, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and pustular psoriasis. Symptoms vary depending on the type of psoriasis the patient has. Treatment of psoriasis may include creams, lotions, oral medications, injections and infusions of biologics, and light therapy. There is no cure for psoriasis.
Severe Psoriasis PicturesLearn about the common skin condition psoriasis. Explore about the different types of psoriasis such as vulgaris (plaque psoriasis), guttate psoriasis, and scalp psoriasis. Discover different psoriasis treatment options.
Psoriatic ArthritisPsoriatic arthritis is a disease that causes skin and joint inflammation. Symptoms include painful, stiff, and swollen joints, tendinitis, and organ inflammation. Treatment involves anti-inflammatory medications and exercise.
Rheumatoid ArthritisRheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as well as other organs in the body. Because it can affect multiple other organs of the body, rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease.
RA SlideshowWhat is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? Learn about juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Discover rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
SarcoidosisSarcoidosis, a disease resulting from chronic inflammation, causes small lumps (granulomas) to develop in a great range of body tissues and can appear in almost any body organ. However, sarcoidosis most often starts in the lungs or lymph nodes.
Tuberculosis Skin Test (PPD Skin Test)The tuberculosis skin test is based on the fact that infection with M. tuberculosis produces a delayed-type hypersensitivity skin reaction to certain components of the bacterium. The standard recommended tuberculin test is administered by injecting 0.1mL of 5 TU (tuberculin units) PPD into the top layers of skin of the forearm. "Reading" the skin test means detecting a raised, thickened local area of skin reaction, referred to as induration. The area of induration (palpable, raised, hardened area) around the site of injection is the reaction to tuberculin.
Uveitis PictureUveitis (pronounced you-vee-EYE-tis) involves all inflammatory processes of the middle layers of the eye, also called the uveal tract or uvea. See a picture of Uveitis and learn more about the health topic.