RA What to expect with first Remicade infusion?

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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 7/17/2007 1:38 PM (GMT -6)   
I've read postings, but I would really appreciate a quick "what to expect" from my first infusion of Remicade.  I know some people haven't experienced any side effects, but I'd love insight into some things I can expect.  For example, I live in Atlanta by myself, so my mother is coming over for the first infusion.  Will this be necessary in the future?
Thanks so much!

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 7/17/2007 6:52 PM (GMT -6)   

I have been taking remicade infusions for the past 8 months.  I have not had any side effects so far. My doctor was really good about starting at a low dose and boosting me up when she felt I was ok to.  They will probably give you benedryl and tylenol before your treatments just in case you have a reaction.  I don't get either because i don't like to feel sleepy from the benedryl.

My first couple of treatments were once a month and it was a 4 hour procedure.  Now I am going every 6 weeks and the infusion is taking about 2 hours. The reason for the change in time is because they can speed up the process of the infusion as long as your body can handle it.

My mom goes with me for my treatments.  It's nice to have someone to talk to while getting the infusion.  I would definitely say have someone with you the first couple of times.  I hope i helped a little bit and if you have additional questions post again and I can respond.

Lady Vol

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 3199
   Posted 7/17/2007 7:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey there bamabelle! Welcome to the forum.. Taking your mom with you the first session is a good idea.. Since everyone reacts differently it is hard telling how you will do.. I personally am not on Remicade, but I know a few that are.. Infusions usually go anywhere between 3 and 6 hours.. Like Lady Vol said, you may get additional meds to try and help with side effects.. You may get what is called "serum sickness" afterwards.. if you do, you need to let your doc know so they can adjust the additional meds next infusion.. As well as give you something to help with it at that time.. Good luck to you, let us know how it goes.. When is your infusion?
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   Posted 7/17/2007 9:49 PM (GMT -6)   
I have had 24 Remicade infusions in the last 2.5 years. I have always driven myself to and from my infusions and have never had anyone go with me. If they are giving you a lot of Benadryl before your infusion, and you get very sleepy from Benadryl, then you might need someone to drive you. I have only had Benadryl before the first infusion and was fine to drive after it.

My infusions last 3 hours. I feel fine afterward and carry out the rest of my scheduled activities. I go to the mall, do my grocery shopping, or whatever else I have planned. I take a book or puzzle to do and take a snack. Some places provide meals [hospitals] but I have my ionfusions in my GI's infusions center. There is a TV in my cubicle that I could watch if I chose to. I tend to get cold so I take a fleece throw to cover me as the blankets they have leave me covered with lint.
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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 7/18/2007 12:05 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you everyone.  I have only been diagnosed since Jan 2007, so this is all very new to me.  I think the reality of being on meds for the rest of my life is daunting and then being told you're having to get 'infusions.' I had no clue what to expect.  All I could envision was chemotherapy. And those poor people are ravaged it seems in response to the medication.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 3148
   Posted 7/18/2007 7:11 PM (GMT -6)   
:-)  Best wishes w/ the Remicade!
I've been going for Remicade treatments since last October.
I have it done in my hospital @ the chemotherapy room.  It's a mix of people; some are getting treated for cancer, some get blood transfusions, some get fluids, some get immunoglobulins...AND SOME GET REMICADE! smurf
There's no room for company @ my outpatient chemo...but I'm in a pretty densely populated city, so it probably varies state to state/city to city on the likelihood that you'll get to have someone sit with you during your infusions.
I hope you do...I wish I could! 
The nurses are really great. They're really sharp & very smart.
Your 1st Remicade day might be lengthy (health history, longer chemo run time, etc...)
The R.N. will do your vitals a few times while the Remicade runs.
I receive benedryl, steroids & tylenol as pre-meds and I also continue that schedule 4 days post-Remicade & 3 days pre-Remicade because in April I developed serum-sickness {everything worked out fine though}.
Umh..lemme' see, oh...doses & times vary too.  Depending on how you respond & how your arthritis is.
I go for treatments every 3 weeks @600mg per infusion.
The nurses will keep a good close eye on you so don't worry...and should you have any worries? Speak up & tell them!  Don't be afraid to tell them if you do feel strange or start to feel hot, dizzy,or it's hard to breath.
My 1st infusion my blood pressure dipped really low (78/50)...but they stopped the 'Cade, ran fluids, waited...and it was fine.
My run time is still between 4 and 6 hours.
The pre meds help avoid A LOT of infusion issues.
The only really bogus thing I ever developed was serum sickness in April...felt like a severe flu w/ fever & rashes.
Be a good communicator with your doc & nurses...it'll help tremendously.
So yeah...bring some good reading material! (I bring a little DVD player to watch movies) and I do hope you get to bring a friend or family member...it'll make the time go faster.
Take good care!

Arthritis Forum Moderator & Co-Pilot
Active Severe Rheumatory Arthritis. AS. Crohns Disease. A.Chiari Malformation & right brain venous anomoly. Partial Complex Seizures (under control!). MVP & Tricuspid Valve Prolapse. Rheumatic heart & lung. Kidney Stones (oh joy). Previous Lymes Disease for 10 years.
Meds: Remicade infusions 600mg Q3weeks; Intra-articular knee injections; 6MP 50mgQD plus 75mg weekly; Mesalamine 4GramsQD; Prednisone 20mgQD; Entocort 9mgQD; Meclizine; Augmentin; Tigan; Reglan; LidoDerm; Diazepam; Rozerem; Diclofenac; Celebrex; Dilaudid 4mg; Duragesic 25mcg/hour. 

Post Edited (erin.K) : 7/18/2007 6:18:15 PM (GMT-6)

Stanley Ipkiss
New Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 7/26/2007 1:18 AM (GMT -6)   
I just had my first Remicade today. A non event for me so far. Blood pressure, temperature, pulse, a two hour IV and that was it. Oh yes, 1000mg Tylenol and 1 Zyrtec. The Zyrtec made me drowsy like it always has.

I was told that it usually takes about 3 infusions before any significant changes are seen. I will know more tomorrow but I think it's now time to start being more aware of colds, fever's, and respiratory things.

Good Luck!
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