I have been taking Remicade for about for approximately eight 98) months, and teh following is what I have learned about it:
1. Medicine: Is a biologic (an engineering protein) that works to inhibit "TNF" recptors that cause inflammation. It chmically bonds with the receptors, so that they can not cause inflammation. Remicade was originally developed for arthritis, but was subsequently approved for Chrons and then Ulcerative Colitis (UC).
2. Dosage: Standard dosage is 5 miligrams (mg) per kiligram of body weight (A kilogram is approximateky 2.2 pounds). My dose wa srecently increased to 10 mg per j kilogram.
3. TB Test: You will have to have a TB test, before they can start the treatments. If you have TB and they give you the treatmenst the TB will get much worse.
4. Adminsiteriing the medicine: the medicinbe is adminsitered intravenously, because f it is taken orally the digestive system would destroy it before it could work. The treatmnets are usualyy given fist one, the 2 weeks later a secondf ne, then 4 weeks later a third one, the 6 weeks later the next and then the treatmenst are usually 8 weeks apart (some people stay on a six week schedule though).
5. Place: I receive my treatments at the Oncology Lab at my hospital.
6. Duration: A treament ake as long as 4 hours, becaus they give it too you very slowly, to make certain that you do not have an allergic reaction to the drug. A normaly treatment takes about 2 hours.
7. Other mecicines: Before they give you the treatment they give you Tylenol and Benadryl to help prevent an allergiuc reaction/
8. Experience: The experience is not bad at all. You might feel a lsmall amount of pain when they first start out the IV, but that quickly goes away. They use a cathereter for the IV, so teh hole is very small, and stops bleeding some aafter the IV is removed. With me the Benadryl usually puts me to sleep. They sit you in a reclining chair with one arm up on a table by it, and you just relax and take teh medicine in. The nurses will take you temperature and blood pressure vefore starting the treatment, during teh treatment, and before you leave, to make sure that you ar enot having a bad reaction.
9. Side Effects: The biggest side effect is a reduced resistance to infection. So far I have not had any problems at all, but some people do.
10. Blood Test: My GI has blood tests done before each treatment to check my liver function, blood chemistry and Complet Blood Count (CBC).
11. Treatment not a cure: Remicade is a teatment and not a cure, so that you have to keep taking it.
12. Resistance: One probloem is that your body can develop a resistance to Remicade. The body can consider it a "foriegn" substance and attack it, like it does transplanted organs. I take Imuran to help preventthis.
13. My experience: I have had good effects with Remicade. I had a colonoscopy 3 months ago, and my GI was amazed. I was completly healed, and he could even see the blood vessels in the side of my colon. about 2 months ago I started to flare-up. I was going through a terrible time, and I think I worked and stressed myself into a flare-up. I had a Remicade treatment and that improve dthings. I had a sigmoidoscopy that showed that I was moderately inlfmaed, so my GI increased my dose to 10 mg per kilogram of bodyweight and gave me a treatment at 4 weeks rather then waiting the full 8 weeks. I have improived since the last treatment ( aweeek ago), and am down to 5 bowle movemsnt and they are starting to solidify. I have another treatment schedulke dfor 16 Jan 09, and I am hoping that this treatment will put me over the top.
14. Results: Results are highly variable from on eperson to the next, so patiece will be your greastest ally.
I hope the above helps and good luck with what ever you do.