The staff at Minnesota Gastroenterology, P.A. has been providing therapy to patients with Crohn's and ulcerative colitis since 2000 at infusion centers located in Plymouth, Maplewood and Eagan. Our physicians and nurses are specially trained to infuse, monitor and educate patients about Remicade and similar therapies.
What is Remicade and how does it work?
- Remicade is a drug used to treat Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
- It works by blocking your immune system's over-production of a protein called TNF-alpha, a primary cause of inflammation.
- Remicade targets and neutralizes TNF-alpha, thereby relieving the inflammation that can lead to symptoms of Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis.
How is Remicade given?
- Remicade is given by intravenous (IV) infusion
- You will receive your first dose followed by additional doses at two and six weeks and then every eight weeks thereafter.
What can I expect during the Remicade infusion? Do I need to prepare?
- The actual infusion takes about 2 hours. You should plan on spending about 3 hours at the clinic, which includes preparation.
- An infusion nurse will administer the medication through an intravenous (IV) line and monitor you throughout the infusion.
- You do not need to prepare for the infusion. You will be able to eat or drink, read or watch TV during the infusion.
Before receiving this Remicade medication:
- You will need to have a Quantiferon lab test, Mantoux test or chest x-ray prior to your infusion.
- You will also need a blood test to check for Hepatitis B. Please have these results sent to us if they are not done through our clinic.
- You will be enrolled in Access One, a program that verifies insurance coverage, identifies payer requirements such as prior authorizations, and informs you if you are eligibile for financial assistance programs. If you prefer not to wait for Access One to contact you, you will need to call your insurance company directly to determine coverage for Remicade.
What are the side effects of Remicade?
- Remicade is generally well tolerated with manageable reported reactions lasting a short time.
- Mild reactions include: chest tightness, chills, headache, hives, itching, low-grade fever or rash.
- Severe reactions include: bronchospasm, fever greater than 101° F, hypotension, shortness of breath, swelling, throat tightness or wheezing.
- You will be closely monitored throughout the infusion for any sign of reaction.
- In the unlikely event that you are treated for an infusion reaction, you may need to have a driver to take you home, as the medications used to treat the reaction can cause drowsiness.
Are there any long-term concerns of using Remicade?
- Some patients have had serious infections while receiving Remicade. These infections include TB (tuberculosis) and infections caused by viruses, fungi (such as histoplasmosis) or bacteria that have spread throughout the body. If you develop a fever, feel very tired, have a cough or flu-like symptoms while you are taking Remicade or after you have taken Remicade, you should contact our office right away.
- Reports of a type of blood cancer called lymphoma in patients on Remicade are rare but occur more often than expected for people in general. If you take Remicade, your risk for developing lymphoma or other cancers may increase.
- There have been rare cases of patients developing disorders that affect their nervous system. If you experience any changes in your vision, weakness in your arms and/or legs, and numbness or tingling in any part of your body, notify our office.
- There have been reports of an association between this medication and the onset of psoriasis.
- Serious liver problems have been reported rarely. If you experience any of the following symptoms you should contact our office immediately: jaundice (skin and eyes turning yellow), dark brown-colored urine, right sided abdominal pain, fever and severe fatigue (tiredness).
- Some patients have also developed serum sickness symptoms. Symptoms include: chest discomfort or pain that doesn't go away, shortness of breath, join pain, or a rash on the cheeks or arms that gets worse in the sun. If you experience any of these symptoms, please call our office.
Additional Remicade Resources:
* Information on Remicade
* Information on Access One (click on ‘Remicade' in the middle of the page)
* Crohn's and Colitis Foundation