Remicade (infliximab)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: May 2023

Remicade® (infliximab) is a biologic drug used along with the medicine methotrexate to treat people with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis (RA).1

Remicade is also used to treat other autoimmune diseases, including Crohn’s disease, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and plaque psoriasis.1

What are the ingredients in Remicade?

The active ingredient in Remicade is infliximab.1

How does Remicade work?

Remicade is a kind of medicine known as a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor. TNF is a protein made by your immune system. In people with certain autoimmune diseases like RA, the immune system makes too much TNF. This leads to RA symptoms like joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.1

Remicade works by targeting and sticking to the extra TNF in your body. This helps reduce RA symptoms and prevent further joint damage.1

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Remicade include:1

  • Sinus infections
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Stomach pain
  • Infusion reactions, such as fever, chills, chest pain, shortness of breath, rash, and itching

Remicade has a boxed warning, the strictest warning from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It has this warning because it may cause serious side effects, including:1

  • Serious infections, such as tuberculosis (TB) and sepsis, that can lead to hospitalization or death
  • Increased risk of certain cancers, especially in children and teens

Your doctor will test you for TB before you start Remicade. Your doctor will also closely monitor you for signs and symptoms of TB during treatment with Remicade.1

Do not start taking Remicade if you have any type of infection unless your doctor tells you to. Contact your doctor right away if you have any signs of an infection, such as:1

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Feeling very tired

These are not all the possible side effects of Remicade. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Remicade. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Remicade.

Other things to know

Before taking Remicade, tell your doctor if you:1

  • Have a current infection or are prone to recurring infections, including open cuts
  • Have HIV, diabetes, or a weakened immune system
  • Have tested positive for TB or have been in close contact with someone who has TB
  • Have or have had Hepatitis B
  • Have COPD
  • Have or have had heart problems
  • Have nervous system disorders like multiple sclerosis or Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • Have or have had any type of cancer

People taking Remicade should not receive certain vaccines. Talk to your doctor before getting any vaccines.1

There is not enough data to know if Remicade is safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding. Before taking Remicade, talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.1

Certain drugs can interact with Remicade, including:1

  • Actemra (tocilizumab)
  • Kineret (anakinra)
  • Orencia (abatacept)

Before beginning treatment for RA, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Remicade.

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