The issue with those of use that have been Remicade and then develop either a positive ANA and/or autobodies found in lupus is whether we just have the antibodies or have developed the disease. A large percentage of people that take Remicade develop lupus antibodies. This has been studies many, many times. Only a few actually develop the disease. The antibodies can remain in the blood for some time after going off of Remicade. At first, some studies suggested that the antibodies cleared within 3-4 months. Another study at the link I am posting said that antibodies persisted for up to a year. Autoimmunity associated with anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha treatment in Crohn's disease: a prospective cohort study.
My rheumy has my blood tested every month to watch for signs of actually lupus disease. Because I have the anti-dsDNA antibody he watches kidney function closely be cause that antibody is associated with kidney disease in lupus. At one time I developed a facial skin rash that the rheumy thought might be lupus. He wanted me to see a dermatologist ASAP for a biopsy. My insurance dragged in providing authorization for me to see a derm and by the time I got there, the rash had gone away [this was like 10 weeks]. My rheumy was most upset because he said a biopsy of a facial rash can definitively diagnosis the disease if it is positive for lupus.
Those that take medications that can induce lupus antibodies cloud the issue in diagnosing lupus until there is something definitve like a positive biopsy or actual organ damage. There are very few cases of people on Remicade actually developing lupus outright. So this is a wait and see game. I have only been off Remicade for 2.5 months. And now I am taking Humira, another anti-TNF drug that can cause lupus antibodies. So the rheumy is watching and seeing. In terms of "diagnosis" my rheumy uses the ICD code for unspecified diffuse connective tissue disease.
I have loads of info on the subject because I researched it like heck when trying to decide if I should stay on Remicade. I developed the antibodies 6 months after starting Remicade and kept getting infusions for another TWO years after that. If you want some of the articles I have gathered just say so and they are yours!
Moderator Crohn's Disease Forum
CD, Ankylosing Spondylitis, small fiber peripheral neuropathy, avascular necrosis, diffuse connective tissue disease, Sjogren's Syndrome ?