This site is intended for patients prescribed Remicade (infliximab). If you are a Healthcare Professional then go to the HCP site or if you are a member of the public, please visit our public site.


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This website is intended for adult patients who have been prescribed Remicade (infliximab), and is not a substitute for the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL). The information provided in this website is general education information and does not take the place of professional medical advice.


Why have I been prescribed Remicade (infliximab)?

Your healthcare professional has decided that a change needs to be made to your treatment plan. This could be because your medicines were not helping you enough.

For example, you might have had symptoms or "flares" despite treatment. Another reason for the change might be that your medicines were causing side-effects that were difficult for you to cope with. Either way, you will soon begin treatment with Remicade, also known as infliximab, a type of medicine called a "biologic". The good news is that your healthcare professional thinks that Remicade (infliximab) might help.

Remicade (infliximab) belongs to a group of medicines called 'TNF blockers'. It is used in adults for the following inflammatory diseases:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Psoriatic arthritis (PsA)
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (AS)
  • Psoriasis (PsO)

Remicade (infliximab) is also used in adults and children 6 years of age or older for:

  • Crohn's disease (CD)
  • Ulcerative colitis (UC)

How does Remicade (infliximab) work?

Your immune system naturally produces a protein called tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). When your body produces too much TNF-alpha this can lead to inflammation and the other symptoms of your condition. Remicade (infliximab) is an anti-TNF. This means that it works to block TNF-alpha to reduce the inflammation in your body.


Better your understanding

Click on one of the boxes to learn more:

RA

Rheumatoid Arthritis

PsA

Psoriatic Arthritis

AS

Ankylosing Spondylitis

PsO

Psoriasis

UC

Ulcerative Colitis

CD

Crohn's Disease

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

In RA the body produces too much TNF-alpha, making your body to mistakenly start attacking the tissue lining your joints. This causes inflammation, making your joints painful and swollen, and may lead to joint damage in the long term.

 

Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

Psoriasis is a condition that causes areas of your skin to become red and swollen.

When people with psoriasis produce too much TNF-alpha, you can develop PsA. This causes your body to mistakenly start attacking the tissue lining your joints, making them painful and swollen.

PsA most commonly affects the fingers, toes, knees and elbows – but can occur in any joint. Dactylitis is the name used to describe when a finger or toe becomes swollen, caused by joints and tendons being inflamed at the same time.

 

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)

In AS the body produces too much TNF-alpha, making your body to mistakenly start attacking the area where you ligaments attach to your spine. This causes inflammation and can lead to the vertebrae in your lower back fusing causing pain and stiffness.

As well as your back, the hip, ankle, elbow, heel or shoulder joints can also be affected.

 

Ulcerative Colitis (UC)

Ulcerative Colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. It is a long-term condition, but you will have periods when your symptoms are reduced (remission) and flares, when they will temporarily get worse. In people with UC, your body produces too much TNF-alpha, causing your immune system to mistakenly start attacking healthy tissue in your colon.

The exact cause of UC is unknown, but it is thought to be influenced by:

  • Your genes
  • An abnormal reaction to bacteria in your gut
  • An environmental trigger e.g. diet or stress
 

Psoriasis (PsO)

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes raised, red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales. These patches normally appear on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, but can appear anywhere on your body.

Psoriasis is an immune-related condition, which can also sometimes cause pain and swelling in the joints. The immune system is your body's defense against disease and infection, but for people with psoriasis, it attacks healthy skin cells by mistake.

In psoriasis the skin cells reproduce more than is required and in turn accumulate and build up to form raised 'plaques' on your skin, which can also be flaky, scaly and red on caucasian skin, or darker patches on darker skin tones, as well as being itchy.

Psoriasis is a long-lasting (chronic) disease that usually involves periods when you have no symptoms or mild symptoms, followed by periods when symptoms are more severe.

 

Crohn's Disease (CD)

Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease, which is a chronic long-term inflammatory condition of the digestive system. In people with CD, the body produces too much TNF-alpha, causing your immune system to mistakenly start attacking healthy tissue in any part of your gut but most commonly the last part of the small intestine or the colon.

People with Crohn's disease sometimes go for long periods without symptoms or with very mild symptoms. This is known as remission. Remission can be followed by periods where symptoms flare up and become particularly troublesome.

The exact cause of CD is unknown, but it is thought to be influenced by:

  • Your genes
  • A previous infection that might trigger an abnormal response from the immune system
  • Environmental factors e.g. diet or stress

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References

  1. Kanai T et al. Korean J Intern Med 2014; 29(4): 409-15
  2. Olendzki BC et al. Nutr J 2014; 13(5): 1-7.
  3. Brown AC et al. Expert Rev. Gastroenterol. Hepatol 2011; 5(3): 411-25
  4. Pituch-Zdanowksa A et al. Prz Gastroenterol 2015; 10(3): 135-41.
  5. Oliviero F et al. Swiss Med Wkly 2015; 145: w14190.
  6. Clinton CM et al. Arthritis 2015; 2015: Article ID 708152.
  7. Narula N, Fedorak RN. Can J Gastroenterol 2008; 22 (5): 497-504
  8. Bilski J et al. BioMed Res Int 2014; Volume 2014 (Article ID 429031): 1-14.
  9. Benatti FB, Pedersen BK. Nat Rev Rheumatol 2015; 11: 86-97
  10. Nolte K et al. S Afr Fam Pract 2013; 55: 345-9
  11. Metsios GA et al. Expert Rev Clin Immunol 2015 [Epub ahead of print]
  12. Brophy S et al. Semin Arthritis Rheum 2013; 42: 619-26

Contact

For further information about Remicade (infliximab) please contact our Medical Information Department at:

Medical Information Department

Merck Sharp & Dohme Ltd.

Hertford Road

Hoddesdon

Hertfordshire

EN11 9BU

Tel: 01992 467272

E-mail: medicalinformationuk@merck.com