Hi sandie & welcome. We've been talking about this class of meds a lot lately. Which of the meds you choose to use needs to be worked out with your Doc, but we can tell you about them.
For the most part, the risks involved are almost the same for Enbrel, Humira and Remicade. Remicade is given by IV infusion every 4 to 8 weeks. They generally start it on 8 week intervals and only move them closer together if absolutely necessary. There are 2 drawbacks to using this med. First is that it requires several hours to get, since it's a slow IV infusion. Also, if you haven't got good veins, having those IVs started can be a pain. Also, the protein used in Remicade is a murine (mouse) protein and some people very quickly build antibodies to it. This can result in an allergic reaction. Of course not everything reacts to it, but it does happen occasionally.
Enbrel and Humira use synthetic human proteins, so the risk for allergic reaction is much lower. These meds are both given by injection, just like a diabetic takes insulin. The usual dose for Enbrel is 50mg per week and might be in one injection or in two, given a few days apart. When I used it, I injected twice a week. Humira is usually given in one 40mg injection every two weeks. Some Docs have their patients start with a double dose of 80 mgs, but that's not always the case.
You can find all sorts of info about possible side effects at the website for each of these meds. While reading through them, remember that the FDA requires disclosure of any event that occurs during clinical trials and sometimes there is no direct link to the medication. For instance, lots of patients get upper respiratory infections from using these meds, because the immune system is dampened to slow the progress of the disease. Also listed as adverse reactions are much less common, such as activation of latent TB and even lymphoma.
Deciding to begin these meds is very scary and we all need to work through our fears by researching and dicussing the real possibilities with our Docs. It is a matter of weighing the risks vs the benefits. I'm going to post some links to recent threads where we've discussed this exact topic.
I hope that you make the best choice for you and that you get lots of relief quickly.
Keah a.k.a. Wormy
God helps those who help themselves.
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