Remicade (infliximab)

Medically Reviewed By Victor Nguyen, PharmD, MBA

This drug has boxed warnings, the most serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Boxed warnings alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Increased risk of cancer. Remicade may increase the risk of cancer in some people. This includes children and adolescents. In rare cases, these cancers may be fatal. Before starting treatment with Remicade, talk with your doctor about your risk of cancer.

Increased risk of serious infections. Remicade may increase the risk of serious infections caused by fungi, viruses, or bacteria. In rare cases, infections with Remicade may be fatal or require treatment in a hospital. Examples of these infections include tuberculosis (TB) and skin ulcers.

Before starting treatment with Remicade, your doctor will likely test you for TB. And they’ll test you again from time to time during treatment. Remicade may reactivate TB in people who already have TB in their body. (When TB is reactivated, the bacteria that causes TB becomes active and causes symptoms of the infection.) If you’re found to have TB before taking Remicade, your doctor will treat your TB before you start taking this drug.

If you have TB or another serious infection while using Remicade, your doctor may have you stop taking the drug until your infection is treated.

To learn more, see the “ Remicade: Side effects” section below.

About Remicade infusion

Remicade is a brand-name prescription drug. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the following conditions.

In adults and children ages 6 years and older ulcerative colitis
Crohn’s disease
In adults plaque psoriasis
psoriatic arthritis
rheumatoid arthritis
ankylosing spondylitis

Doctors can prescribe Remicade to treat these conditions in certain situations. For more information about these conditions and how the drug treats them, see the “Remicade: Uses” section below.

Key points

The following table provides key facts about Remicade.

Active drug infliximab
Drug classification tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor, which is a biologic drug
Form powder that’s mixed with liquid to form a solution and given as an IV infusion

Finding a healthcare professional

If you’re interested in taking this drug, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it.

Remicade: Generic or biosimilar

Remicade is a brand-name medication. It contains the active drug infliximab, which is a biologic drug. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several biosimilar forms of Remicade: Avsola, Inflectra, Ixifi, and Renflexis. However, not all of these biosimilars are currently available for use.

Biosimilars are similar to their brand-name biologic drugs (parent drugs). Biologics are made from parts of living cells. For this reason, it isn’t possible to make exact copies of biologics. Traditional drugs are made from chemicals. Generics are identical copies of the active drug found in brand-name medications.

Biosimilars are considered as safe and effective as their parent drug. Like generics, biosimilars often cost less than brand-name drugs.

Remicade: Side effects

As with most drugs, it’s possible to have side effects with Remicade. These can include some mild side effects, but also some serious ones.

To learn more about Remicade’s side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may also provide information about managing certain side effects of this drug.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Remicade, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild and serious side effects

Mild and serious side effects of Remicade are listed in the table below. This table does not include all of Remicade’s possible side effects.

Mild side effects* Serious side effects
abdominal pain heart failure
cough liver problems, such as liver failure
headache • conditions that cause nerve damage, such as multiple sclerosis
upper respiratory infections, such as  sinus infection lupus-like syndrome (a condition that causes symptoms similar to those of lupus)
• mild infusion side effects, such as rash • Remicade-induced psoriasis (new or worsened psoriasis that happens after using Remicade)
  • low levels of certain blood cells, such as platelets and specific white blood cells
  • severe infusion side effects†
  allergic reaction
  • increased risk of cancer
  • increased risk of serious infections

* This is not a complete list of Remicade’s mild side effects. To learn about other mild side effects of this drug, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Or you can view the drug’s prescribing information.
† For more information about this side effect, see “Remicade’s side effects explained” below.
Remicade has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more, see the “Remicade’s side effects explained” section below.

Most times, mild side effects of a drug go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if any side effects become severe or don’t go away.

Serious side effects from Remicade aren’t common, but they are possible. If you have serious side effects, call your doctor right away. However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

Remicade’s side effects in children

Remicade is approved to treat ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease in children ages 6 years and older.

In clinical studies of Remicade, the side effects below occurred more often in children than in adults:

If you’re concerned about a child’s risk of side effects with Remicade, talk with their doctor. The doctor can advise on the child’s risk and recommend ways to manage these side effects if needed.

* For more information about this side effect, see “Remicade’s side effects explained” below.

Remicade’s side effects explained

Below, you can find detailed information about some of Remicade’s side effects. To learn more about other side effects of this medication, talk with your doctor.  

Increased risk of cancer

Remicade may increase the risk of cancer in some people, including children and adolescents. In rare cases, these cancers may be fatal.

Some cancers were reported in clinical studies of Remicade. Others have been reported since Remicade and other tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors became available for use. (Remicade is a TNF inhibitor.)

In fact, Remicade has a boxed warning for an increased risk of cancer. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

To learn more about how often this side effect has been reported, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Below are cancers that have been reported with Remicade and other TNF inhibitors, along with possible symptoms of each.

Type of cancer Possible symptoms
cervical cancer • vaginal bleeding after menopause, between periods, or after sexual intercourse
• pelvic pain
painful sexual intercourse
lymphoma (a type of blood cancer) weight loss
swollen lymph nodes
fatigue
skin cancers, including melanoma • skin lumps that are discolored or irregularly shaped
head and neck cancer • pain in your gums, teeth, or jaw
• swelling or sore spots on the head or neck
• headache
• trouble speaking or swallowing
breast cancer • breast lumps
• changes in the shape of the breast
• nipple discharge
colorectal cancer bloody stool
abdominal pain
• changes in bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea
lung cancer • cough
• chest pain
• shortness of breath

The risk of certain cancers with Remicade may be higher for people with any of the factors below:

* Immunosuppressants are medications that weaken the immune system. Having a weakened immune system can increase the risk of cancer. Examples of these medications include mercaptopurine (Purixan) and azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan).

What to do

Before starting Remicade, talk with your doctor about your risk of cancer. Be sure to tell them if you have any of the factors listed above. These could increase your risk of cancer with Remicade.

Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of cancer while taking Remicade. They’ll recommend whether you should continue using this drug or switch to a different treatment.

Increased risk of serious infections

Remicade may increase the risk of serious infections caused by fungi, viruses, or bacteria. In rare cases, infections with Remicade may be fatal or require treatment in a hospital. To learn more about how often this side effect occurred in clinical studies, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Due to these risks, Remicade has a boxed warning for an increased risk of serious infections. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Below are the serious infections that were reported in clinical studies of Remicade:

Serious infections can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the specific type of infection. In general, infections may cause symptoms such as fever, fatigue, chills, and weight loss.

The risk of serious infections may be higher in people who take Remicade in combination with certain medications. Examples include anakinra (Kineret) and abatacept (Orencia), which are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions. For this reason, doctors typically will not prescribe Remicade in combination with anakinra or abatacept.

Other medications that may increase the risk of infections with Remicade include methotrexate (Trexall) and corticosteroids, such as prednisone (Rayos).

What to do

Before starting treatment with Remicade, your doctor will likely test you for TB. And they’ll test you again from time to time during treatment. Remicade may reactivate TB in people who already have TB in their body. (When TB is reactivated, the bacteria that causes TB becomes active and causes symptoms of the infection.) If you’re found to have TB before taking Remicade, your doctor will treat the TB before you start taking this drug.

If you have symptoms of infection while taking Remicade, tell your doctor right away. Your doctor will likely order tests to check for an infection. If you have TB or another serious infection while using Remicade, your doctor may have you stop taking the drug until your infection is treated.

Your doctor will prescribe the right treatment depending on the infection. For example, if your infection is caused by bacteria, your doctor will give you antibiotics to treat it.

Infusion side effects

Infusion side effects can occur with Remicade. These are side effects that happen during an infusion or within 2 hours after the infusion ends. Keep in mind that you’ll receive Remicade as an IV infusion.

To learn more about how often these side effects occurred in clinical studies, see the drug’s prescribing information.

In clinical studies of Remicade, mild infusion side effects were common. Examples include:

In rare cases, Remicade may cause more severe infusion side effects. Examples include heart attack, stroke, changes in blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm, and vision loss.

What to do

A healthcare professional will administer Remicade infusions in a healthcare facility. To lower your risk of infusion side effects, they may give you certain medications before your infusion. For example, they may give acetaminophen (Tylenol), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), and a corticosteroid, such as dexamethasone. 

A healthcare professional will also watch for infusion side effects while you receive Remicade treatment. Keep in mind that infusion side effects can also happen within a few hours after your infusion ends. For this reason, it’s important to watch for side effects after your infusion. Be sure to let your healthcare professional know if you have any symptoms after your infusion ends.  

If you have mild infusion side effects with Remicade, your healthcare professional may slow the infusion rate. This means they’ll give your Remicade infusion over a longer period of time than usual. However, if you have severe infusion side effects with Remicade, they’ll stop your infusion right away. And if possible, they’ll likely give you treatments to help ease your symptoms.

If you’re concerned about having infusion side effects with Remicade, talk with your doctor.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Remicade. A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible.

In rare cases, an allergic reaction may occur up to 2 weeks after a Remicade infusion.

Possible symptoms of mild and serious allergic reactions are listed in the table below.

Mild allergic reaction symptoms Serious allergic reaction symptoms
flushing • swelling under your skin, possibly in your hands, feet, lips, or eyelids
rash • swelling in your throat or mouth
• itching trouble breathing

If you have an allergic reaction to Remicade, call your doctor right away. This is important to do because  the reaction could become severe.

However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

Remicade: Alternatives

Doctors may prescribe drugs other than Remicade for your condition. Certain drugs may work better for you than others.

Remicade is used to treat several conditions. Here are summaries of other drugs that doctors sometimes prescribe for Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. These are two of the conditions Remicade treats.

To learn more about some alternatives of Remicade, view the following articles:

For more information about alternatives to Remicade, ask your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that could be prescribed for your condition.

Remicade: Questions you may have

Here are some common questions about Remicade and brief answers to them. If you’d like to know more about these topics, ask your doctor.

Does Remicade cause hair loss, weight gain, or teeth-related side effects?

Hair loss, weight gain, and teeth-related side effects weren’t reported in clinical studies of Remicade.

However, hair loss can be a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which Remicade is used to treat. If you take Remicade for RA, you may have hair loss. However, the drug itself isn’t likely to be the cause of your hair loss.                                                                                      

Weight loss is a possible symptom of certain conditions Remicade is used to treat. These include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. If you take Remicade to treat either condition, you may gain weight as your condition improves.

Keep in mind that rapid weight gain is a symptom of heart failure, which is a possible side effect of Remicade. If you have rapid weight gain while taking Remicade, tell your doctor right away. They can ask about other symptoms of heart failure and order tests to check for this condition.

Is Remicade a chemotherapy or immunotherapy drug or a steroid?

No, Remicade isn’t a chemotherapy drug, immunotherapy drug, or a steroid. Instead, it belongs to a class of drugs called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors.

Typically, chemotherapy drugs are used to treat cancer. They work to treat cancer by destroying cells that grow rapidly. (Cancer cells usually grow faster than healthy cells.)

However, chemotherapy drugs can also be used to treat some of the same conditions that Remicade treats. Examples include Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Chemotherapy drugs work to treat these conditions by reducing inflammation, helping to ease the symptoms of these conditions. Methotrexate (Trexall) is a chemotherapy drug that may be used for these purposes.

Immunotherapy drugs are also typically used to treat cancer. They work by boosting your body’s immune system’s activity to fight cancer.

Steroids are used to decrease inflammation. And they’re often prescribed to treat the same conditions that Remicade treats.  

Are there long-term side effects of Remicade?

It’s possible that Remicade may cause long-term side effects.

Specifically, Remicade may cause certain side effects after you’ve taken the drug for a long time. Examples include cancer* and liver problems, such as liver failure. Some people who took the drug in clinical studies developed cancer after they’d taken the drug for 7 years. And some people developed liver problems after taking Remicade for 1 year.

Other side effects of Remicade may cause long-term complications. Examples include:

If you’re concerned about the long-term side effects of Remicade, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can advise on your risk for these side effects. They can also suggest what to do if you have these side effects.

* Remicade has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more, see “Remicade’s side effects explained” in the “Remicade: Side effects” section above.

Will I develop antibodies against Remicade if I take the drug?

You may develop antibodies against Remicade. However, this doesn’t happen in everyone who takes the drug.

Antibodies are a type of  immune system protein. They help your body fight off harmful substances, such as viruses and bacteria.

Some people’s immune systems develop antibodies against Remicade. This happens because the body doesn’t recognize Remicade as something that occurs naturally. Antibodies against Remicade will quickly remove the drug from the body, possibly making the medication less effective.

You may have a higher risk of developing antibodies to Remicade if you take immunosuppressant drugs. These are medications that weaken the immune system. Examples include mercaptopurine (Purixan) and azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan).

If you’re concerned about having antibodies against Remicade, talk with your doctor.

Can I read reviews from people who’ve taken Remicade?

Yes, the manufacturer of Remicade provides treatment stories on their website.

However, it’s important to remember that the effects of Remicade can be different in each person who receives it. It’s best to talk with your doctor or pharmacist to decide if Remicade is a good treatment option for you. They can advise on what to expect while you’re having this treatment.

Is Remicade used for sarcoidosis?

Remicade isn’t currently approved to treat sarcoidosis. However, in rare cases, Remicade may cause sarcoidosis as a side effect.

Sarcoidosis is a type of inflammation that affects various parts of the body. It can cause swollen lumps of tissue to form in your organs, particularly your liver, eyes, and skin.

Remicade may cause sarcoidosis as a side effect, so the drug could worsen sarcoidosis in people who already have the condition. For this reason, doctors aren’t likely to prescribe Remicade to treat sarcoidosis.

If you’d like to know about treatment options for sarcoidosis, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Remicade: Dosage

Below, you’ll find dosages that are commonly recommended for Remicade. However, you should take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll recommend the dosage that’s best for your needs.

The dosage of Remicade that your doctor prescribes will depend on factors such as:

  • your body weight
  • any health conditions you have
  • the condition Remicade is treating and the severity of the condition
  • any side effects you may have

Remicade’s form and strength

Remicade is available as follows.

  • Form: powder inside a vial that’s mixed with liquid to form a solution
  • Strength: 100 milligrams (mg) per vial

This drug is given as an IV infusion by a healthcare professional.

Remicade’s recommended dosages

Recommended dosages for Remicade in adults and children are described below. These dosages are based on a person’s weight in kilograms (kg). One kg is about 2.2 pounds (lb).

Remicade’s approved uses vary between adults and children. See “Remicade: Uses” below for more information.

Adult dosage

Recommended dosages for Remicade in adults include the following.

Condition Starting dosage Maintenance dosage
ulcerative colitis 5 mg/kg* on weeks 0, 2, and 6 5 mg/kg every 8 weeks, starting on week 14
Crohn’s disease 5 mg/kg on weeks 0, 2, and 6 5 mg/kg every 8 weeks, starting on week 14
plaque psoriasis 5 mg/kg on weeks 0, 2, and 6 5 mg/kg every 8 weeks, starting on week 14
psoriatic arthritis 5 mg/kg on weeks 0, 2, and 6 5 mg/kg every 8 weeks, starting on week 14
rheumatoid arthritis 3 mg/kg on weeks 0, 2, and 6 3 mg/kg every 8 weeks, starting on week 14
ankylosing spondylitis 5 mg/kg on weeks 0, 2, and 6 5 mg/kg every 6 weeks, starting on week 12

* For example, a person weighing 55 kg (about 121 lb) would receive a dose of 275 mg.

Child dosage

Recommended dosages for Remicade in children include the following.

Condition Starting dosage Maintenance dosage
ulcerative colitis 5 mg/kg* on weeks 0, 2, and 6 5 mg/kg every 8 weeks, starting on week 14
Crohn’s disease 5 mg/kg on weeks 0, 2, and 6 5 mg/kg every 8 weeks, starting on week 14

* For example, a child weighing 30 kg (about 66 lb) would receive a dose of 150 mg.

Dosage considerations

Below are some things to consider about Remicade’s dosage.

  • Missing a dose. If you miss a Remicade infusion, call your healthcare professional to reschedule your infusion appointment. View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing appointments for doses. You could also set an alarm, use a timer, or download a reminder app on your phone.
  • Length of treatment. Doctors typically prescribe Remicade as a long-term treatment. You’ll likely take it long term if you and your doctor feel it’s safe and effective for your condition. For Crohn’s disease, doctors will monitor the symptoms of your condition while you’re using Remicade. If your symptoms haven’t begun to ease by week 14 of treatment, they’ll likely have you stop Remicade infusions. Your doctor may switch you to a different treatment instead.

Remicade: Cost

As with other medications, prices for Remicade may vary. The drug’s price will depend on factors such as:

  • the pharmacy you use
  • your insurance coverage
  • the facility where you receive Remicade infusions

Cost considerations for Remicade

Here’s a list of things to consider when looking into the cost of Remicade.

  • Need for prior authorization. Before insurance coverage for Remicade is approved, your insurance company may require prior authorization. In this case, your doctor and insurance company will communicate about your prescription for Remicade. Then, the insurance company will decide if the drug will be covered. To find out if you need prior authorization for Remicade, contact your insurance company.
  • Possible cost assistance options. Financial assistance to help lower the cost of Remicade is available. The Janssen CarePath program for Remicade may help reduce its cost. To learn more and see if you’re eligible for support, visit the manufacturer’s website. Also, check out this article to learn about ways to save on prescription drugs.
  • Availability of a biosimilar form. Remicade is a biologic drug. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several biosimilar forms of Remicade: Avsola, Inflectra, Ixifi, and Renflexis.  However, not all of these biosimilars are currently available for use. A biosimilar is like a generic drug, which is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Unlike drugs made from chemicals, it isn’t possible to make exact copies of biologics. So instead of generics, biologics have biosimilar forms. Biosimilars often cost less than brand-name drugs.

Remicade: Uses

You may wonder what Remicade treats. Prescription drugs, such as Remicade, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat certain conditions. A drug’s approved uses are also called its indications.

Doctors sometimes prescribe drugs off-label for other conditions. With off-label use, doctors prescribe a drug for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.

Using Remicade for ulcerative colitis

The FDA has approved Remicade to treat ulcerative colitis in adults and children ages 6 years and older.

Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. It’s caused by inflammation in the large intestine, leading to ulcers. (The large intestine includes the colon and rectum.)

With ulcerative colitis, you may have periods of flares (active symptoms) and remission (no symptoms). Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:

For ulcerative colitis, doctors prescribe Remicade when the condition is moderate to severe and hasn’t improved with certain other treatments. This drug is used to:

  • help achieve and maintain remission in people who are having a flare
  • help heal ulcers in the large intestine
  • help reduce the use of corticosteroids, which is another class of drugs used to treat this condition

Using Remicade for Crohn’s disease

The FDA has approved Remicade to treat Crohn’s disease in adults and children ages 6 years and older.

Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. It’s caused by inflammation in the digestive tract. (The digestive tract runs from the mouth to the anus. It includes the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.) This inflammation damages the digestive tract and leads to symptoms of the condition.

With Crohn’s disease, you may have periods of flares (active symptoms) and remission (no symptoms). Symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:

Severe Crohn’s disease may also cause fistulas in the digestive tract. These are tunnels between two parts of the body that aren’t usually connected.

For Crohn’s disease, doctors prescribe Remicade when the condition is moderate to severe and hasn’t improved with certain other treatments. This drug is used to:

  • help achieve and maintain remission in people who are having a flare
  • help heal fistulas that have formed between the skin and intestines, or between the vagina and rectum
  • help maintain the healing of a fistula that’s already been treated

Using Remicade for plaque psoriasis

The FDA has approved Remicade to treat plaque psoriasis in adults.

Plaque psoriasis is a skin condition that causes skin plaques (patches) that are discolored or scaly. These usually occur on the scalp, knees, or elbows. Symptoms include cracking, bleeding, or itching plaques.

Doctors can prescribe Remicade to treat long-term severe plaque psoriasis. Your doctor will recommend if Remicade is the right systemic treatment for you. (Systemic treatments affect the whole body.)

Using Remicade for psoriatic arthritis

The FDA has approved Remicade to treat psoriatic arthritis in adults.

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that causes discolored or scaly skin plaques along with joint pain and joint swelling.

For psoriatic arthritis, doctors can prescribe Remicade to:

  • ease symptoms of the condition
  • reduce joint damage
  • improve the ability to do daily activities, such as walking, getting dressed, and physical work

Using Remicade for rheumatoid arthritis

The FDA has approved Remicade to treat rheumatoid arthritis in adults.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that causes painful, swollen, and stiff joints on both sides of your body.

For rheumatoid arthritis, doctors can prescribe Remicade to:

  • ease symptoms that are moderate to severe
  • reduce joint damage
  • improve the ability to do daily activities, such as walking, getting dressed, and physical work

For this use, you’ll likely take Remicade in combination with methotrexate (Trexall).

Using Remicade for ankylosing spondylitis

The FDA has approved Remicade to treat ankylosing spondylitis in adults.

Ankylosing spondylitis is a specific type of arthritis. It causes inflammation of joints in the spine and pelvis. Symptoms of this condition include lower back pain and stiffness that worsen while sleeping or being inactive. However, these symptoms can spread to other parts of the body as well, such as the jaw.

Doctors prescribe Remicade to ease the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis.

Using Remicade with other drugs

For rheumatoid arthritis, you’ll likely take Remicade in combination with methotrexate (Trexall).

For conditions other than rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor will advise whether to use Remicade on its own or with other treatments.

Using Remicade in children

Remicade is approved to treat ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease in children ages 6 years and older.

For details about these conditions, see the “Using Remicade for ulcerative colitis” and “Using Remicade for Crohn’s disease” sections above.

Finding a healthcare professional for Remicade

If you’re interested in using Remicade, you can find a doctor who may prescribe it by searching here. To prepare for your appointment, you may find it helpful to visit Healthgrades’ appointment guide for the conditions below:

Remicade: How it is given

Your doctor will tell you how you’ll receive doses of Remicade. It’s important that you follow your doctor’s instructions about getting your doses.

Remicade is given as an IV infusion by a healthcare professional. They’ll administer the drug as a slow injection into your vein.

Typically, Remicade infusions are administered in a clinic, hospital, or infusion center. You won’t give yourself Remicade infusions.

Remicade infusion time

You may be wondering how long Remicade infusions take. Each Remicade infusion lasts about 2 hours.

For more information about this and how the drug is given, visit the drug manufacturer’s website for the conditions below:

Questions about receiving Remicade

Here’s a list of common questions related to receiving infusions of Remicade.

  • When should I receive infusions of Remicade? You’ll have Remicade doses every 6 to 8 weeks. View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing appointments for your doses of Remicade. You could also set an alarm, use a timer, or download a reminder app on your phone.
  • Is there a best time of day to have Remicade infusions? There isn’t a best time of day to have your Remicade infusion. You can receive it at any time of day.

Remicade: How it works

Remicade is used to treat the conditions below in certain situations:

The conditions above are caused by inflammation in the body. To learn more about each of them, see the “Remicade: Uses” section above.

Remicade belongs to a class of drugs called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors. TNF is a protein produced by certain white blood cells. It’s thought to play a role in inflammation.

Remicade’s mechanism of action (how it works) is to block the activity of TNF. By blocking this protein, the drug reduces inflammation. And reduced inflammation eases symptoms of the conditions Remicade treats.

How long does Remicade take to start working?

Remicade starts working right after your first infusion. However, your symptoms may not ease for several weeks after your first dose.

For Crohn’s disease, doctors will monitor symptoms of the condition while you’re using Remicade. If your symptoms haven’t begun to ease by week 14 of treatment, they’ll likely have you stop Remicade infusions. Your doctor may switch you to a different treatment instead.

Remicade: Using while pregnant

It isn’t known if Remicade is safe to take during pregnancy. Your doctor can advise on the risks and benefits of taking Remicade while pregnant.

Keep in mind that exposing a fetus to Remicade during the last trimester of pregnancy could weaken the immune system. If you use Remicade while pregnant, your infant should not receive any live vaccines until they’re at least 6 months old. (Live vaccines contain a weakened form of the infection they’re meant to protect against. For examples, see the “Remicade: Interactions” section below.)

Remicade and birth control needs

Doctors aren’t sure whether it’s safe to take Remicade during pregnancy. Talk with your doctor about your birth control needs with Remicade if you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant. Your doctor can recommend if you should use birth control with this medication.

Remicade: Using while breastfeeding

Remicade passes into breast milk. However, it isn’t known if this drug causes side effects in a breastfed child.

If you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed, talk with your doctor before starting Remicade. They can advise on the risks and benefits of taking the drug while breastfeeding.

Remicade: Consuming alcohol during treatment

There isn’t a known interaction between alcohol and Remicade. If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about an amount that’s safe to consume during treatment.

Remicade: Interactions

Remicade may interact with other medications and certain vaccines.

Different interactions can cause different effects. Some interactions can interfere with a drug’s effectiveness. Others can increase a drug’s side effects or cause them to be severe.

If any of the interactions listed below might pertain to you, talk with your doctor. They can tell you what you need to do to avoid the interaction.

  • Remicade and other medications. Remicade may interact with the following drugs, so your doctor may recommend that you don’t take them together. Examples include:
  • Remicade and herbs and supplements. Remicade isn’t known to interact with any herbs and supplements. Before taking any of these products with Remicade, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Remicade and foods. Remicade isn’t known to interact with any foods. If you have questions about eating certain foods while taking Remicade, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Remicade and vaccines. It’s recommended that you do not receive live vaccines while taking Remicade. Live vaccines contain a weakened form of the infection they’re meant to protect against. Examples of vaccines that should be avoided with Remicade include those for:

Remicade: Precautions

This drug comes with several precautions.

FDA warnings

This drug has boxed warnings, the most serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Boxed warnings alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Increased risk of cancer. Remicade may increase the risk of cancer in some people. This includes children and adolescents. In rare cases, these cancers may be fatal. Before starting treatment with Remicade, talk with your doctor about your risk of cancer.

Increased risk of serious infections. Remicade may increase the risk of serious infections caused by fungi, viruses, or bacteria. In rare cases, infections with Remicade may be fatal or require treatment in a hospital. Examples of these infections include tuberculosis (TB) and skin ulcers.

Before starting treatment with Remicade, your doctor will likely test you for TB. And they’ll test you again from time to time during treatment. Remicade may reactivate TB in people who already have TB in their body. (When TB is reactivated, the bacteria that causes TB becomes active and causes symptoms of the infection.) If you’re found to have TB before taking Remicade, your doctor will treat it before you start taking this drug.

If you have TB or another serious infection while using Remicade, your doctor may have you stop taking the drug until your infection is treated.

To learn more, see the “Remicade: Side effects” section above.

Other precautions

Tell your doctor about your health history before starting treatment with Remicade. Your doctor may not recommend this medication if you have certain factors affecting your health or specific medical conditions.

These factors and conditions include those listed below.

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Before taking Remicade, tell your doctor if you have COPD. People with COPD may have a higher risk of lung cancer as a side effect of this drug. Your doctor can recommend whether Remicade is the right treatment option for you.
  • Past use of light therapy for psoriasis. Before taking Remicade, tell your doctor if you’ve had light therapy for psoriasis. People who’ve had this treatment may have a higher risk of skin cancer with this drug. Your doctor can advise whether Remicade is a safe treatment option for you.
  • Infection. Before taking Remicade, tell your doctor if you have an active infection. (An active infection is one that causes symptoms.) Your doctor can advise whether it’s safe for you to take Remicade.
  • Heart failure. Remicade may worsen heart failure in people who already have this condition. Before taking Remicade, be sure to tell your doctor if you have heart failure. They can advise whether it’s safe for you to take Remicade.
  • Hepatitis B or tuberculosis (TB). Before taking Remicade, tell your doctor if you have or have had hepatitis B or TB. Remicade may reactivate the hepatitis B virus (HBV) or TB virus in people who already have the virus in their body. Reactivation can happen when a virus that you already have flares up and causes symptoms. If you have hepatitis B or TB, your doctor can recommend whether Remicade is right for you.
  • Liver problems. Remicade may cause liver problems as a side effect. If you already have liver problems, Remicade could worsen your condition. Talk with your doctor about whether Remicade is the right treatment for you.
  • Nerve problems. Taking Remicade may lead to multiple sclerosis (MS) or other conditions that cause nerve damage. The drug could worsen nerve problems in people who already have MS or other nerve damage. If you have nerve problems, talk with your doctor before taking Remicade.
  • Allergic reaction. Your doctor will likely not prescribe Remicade if you’ve had an allergic reaction to it or any of its ingredients. To find out about other treatment options, talk with your doctor.
  • Pregnancy. It’s not known if Remicade is safe to use during pregnancy. If you’d like to learn more about taking Remicade while pregnant, view the “Remicade: Using while pregnant” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It’s not known if Remicade is safe to use while breastfeeding. If you’d like more information about taking Remicade while breastfeeding, view the “Remicade: Using while breastfeeding” section above.

To learn more about effects of Remicade that could be harmful, see the “Remicade: Side effects” section above.

Remicade: Questions for your doctor

If you have questions about Remicade, talk with your doctor. They can help advise whether Remicade could be a good treatment option for you.

Here’s a list of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • Do I have any health conditions or other factors that increase my risk of side effects with Remicade?
  • Will Remicade cure my condition?
  • Could I possibly receive Remicade infusions at home?

Your doctor may also tell you about other treatment options for your condition. You may find this article helpful in learning about alternative drugs for Crohn’s disease. And see this article for information about treatments for rheumatoid arthritis.

You can also check out our selection of videos on:

Disclaimer: Healthgrades has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

Medical Reviewer: Victor Nguyen, PharmD, MBA
Last Review Date: 2022 Apr 22
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.