Welcome to HealingWell, redbull. I hope you'll find this forum helpful and supportive to you.
Remicade does not affect your bone marrow. It interferes with a blood protein (TNF) that seems to be over-produced in people with certain auto-immune disorders such as UC and rheumatoid arthritis. It can have some serious side effects, but they're not common. Statistically, a little over 50% of people with UC attain a remission with Remi. The most common reactions are from the body forming antibodies to the proteins in the Remi, and those reactions may require stopping the medication. Like all of the meds we take, it works a long time for some of us, a short time for others.
The cost to you depends on your insurance coverage. It runs $8 - 10K a treatment, but usually that is discounted by almost half because of agreements with the insurance carriers. My insurance company pays 52% of what is billed, I pay a $35 co-payment for each treatment. For me, it's less out of pocket than some of the medications.
Prednisone is not intended for maintenance, and if you're flaring each time you taper off, you've become steroid dependent. Add to that the fact that over time steroids lose their effectiveness and the side effects, it's not a good drug to stay on for long periods of time. Are you taking any 5-ASA, such as Sulfasalazine, Asacol or Colazal? Those are usually maintenance drugs for us. They are taken orally, and can also be taken in a rectal form to help with the lower end of the colon.
Do you know where in your colon the disease is? Throughout, or only partial? That can also affect treatment. In any case, I'd suggest a good probiotic to replace the good bacteria in your colon. These can be very helpful to us. I take Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri, others take VSL #3, Culturelle or other varieties.
Again, welcome to HealingWell, and I hope you're soon feeling better.
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Asacol, Rowasa, Pentasa, Prednisone, Entocort, Azathioprine
Colazal, Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri.
In remission since April, 2006. Remicade has been my wonder drug.
Co-Moderator UC Forum