Infliximab is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis , psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis, Crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis. Infliximab is usually used when other treatments have not worked well.
Infliximab is a monoclonal antibody that works by blocking a natural chemical in the body called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). That way, the immune system response will decrease and the inflammation will subside. This drug should not be used carelessly and must be prescribed by a doctor.
Infliximab trademarks: Remicade, Remsima
What is Infliximab
Tumor necrosis factor alpha ( TNF-alpha inhibitor ) inhibitors
Relieves inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis , psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis, Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
Adults and children aged ≥6 years
Infliximab for pregnant and lactating women
Category C: Studies in experimental animals show an adverse effect on the fetus, but there are no controlled studies in pregnant women. The drug should only be used if the expected benefit outweighs the risk to the fetus.
Infliximab can be absorbed into breast milk. If you are breastfeeding, do not use this medicine without consulting your doctor first.
Precautions Before Using Infliximab
Infliximab can only be given by a doctor in a hospital. There are several things that need to be considered before using this drug, including:
- Tell your doctor about any allergies you have. Infliximab should not be given to patients who are allergic to this drug.
- Tell your doctor if you have or currently have COPD, diabetes, heart disease, heart failure, thrombocytopenia , leukopenia, multiple sclerosis , seizures, Guillain Barre syndrome , chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer , liver disease, or an infectious disease, such as tuberculosis , hepatitis B, or herpes .
- Tell your doctor if you are having phototherapy to treat psoriasis or plan to get a vaccination.
- Tell your doctor if you are taking certain medications, supplements or herbal products.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy.
- Tell your doctor if you are using infliximab before having any surgical procedure, including dental surgery.
- Avoid direct contact with someone who is suffering from an infectious disease that is easily transmitted, because this drug can increase your risk of infection.
- See your doctor immediately if you experience a drug allergic reaction , serious side effects, or overdose after using this drug.
Dosage and Rules for Use of Infliximab
The dosage given by the doctor can be different, depending on the patient's condition and response to the drug. The following are common infliximab dosages for adults and children based on the condition being treated:
Condition: Rheumatoid arthritis
- Adult: 3 mg/kg by infusion. Doses can be repeated 2 weeks and 6 weeks after the first dose. Maintenance doses are given every 8 weeks. Infliximab will be combined with methotrexate .
Condition: Psoriatic arthritis or plaque psoriasis
- Adult: 5 mg/kg by infusion. Doses can be repeated 2 weeks and 6 weeks after the first dose. Maintenance doses are given every 8 weeks.
Condition: Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis
- Adults and children ≥6 years: 5 mg/kg by infusion. The dose will be given again on the 2nd and 6th week after the first infusion, then every 8 weeks.
Condition: Ankylosing spondylitis
- Adult: 5 mg/kg by infusion. The dose will be given again on the 2nd and 6th week after the first infusion, then every 6–8 weeks.
How to Use Infliximab Properly
The doctor or medical staff at the hospital will give infliximab by infusion into a vein (intravenously/IV) for at least 2 hours. If needed, the doctor can increase the dose of the drug or stop treatment.
During the administration of infliximab and some time afterward, the doctor will monitor the patient's condition to ensure that serious side effects do not occur due to infliximab.
While undergoing treatment with infliximab, follow the doctor's recommendations so that the treatment is more effective. You may need to undergo health checks, such as urine tests and blood tests regularly to make sure there are no side effects or complications from using this drug.
Infliximab Interactions with Other Drugs
The following are a number of interaction effects that can occur when using infliximab with certain drugs:
- Increased risk of developing severe infections and depletion of neutrophil white blood cells ( neutropenia ) when used with anakinra or abatacept
- Increased risk of side effects and infection when used with live vaccines, such as the BCG vaccine
Infliximab Side Effects and Dangers
Some of the side effects that can occur after using infliximab are:
- Stomach ache
Tell your doctor if the side effects above don't go away or get worse. Tell your doctor right away if you experience an allergic drug reaction or serious side effects, such as:
- Muscle or joint pain
- Easy bruising
- Hand or leg muscles feel weak, tingling, or numb
- A butterfly-shaped rash appears on the face
- Pain, redness, or swelling of the hands or feet
- Symptoms of heart failure , such as shortness of breath, swelling of the feet or ankles, feeling weak, or sudden weight gain
- Symptoms of infection, such as cough, sore throat , fever, chills , difficulty breathing, frequent urination, painful urination, mouth sores, or abnormal vaginal discharge
- Symptoms of liver disease , such as feeling unusually tired, persistent nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, jaundice , or dark urine