I've been having Remicade for almost 4 years now, and about
1 1/2 years ago I developed a reaction to it when it is one hour into the infusion. The way they treat the reaction is to stop the drip, give me extra Benedryl and let the reaction pass. They they start up the infusion again and I continue through without any more incidents. My reactions manifest themselves in a high spike in blood pressure (50 to 60 points), my face and chest gets very red, sweating, nausea, extreme difficulty breathing. The nurse and I have it figured down to about
4 minutes before the reaction, which always starts when the IV is about
to go from 40 to 80. She now stops it, administers the meds, waits about
10 minutes for the Benedryl to kick in and starts the IV up again. This is a new nurse and the difference is that she treats the reaction BEFORE it happens, rather than waiting for it to start. This has made the reaction much less violent. The doctor does not want to stop the Remicade since it is doing such a great job. It really has given me my life back. He feels that since we have developed a "plan" to deal with my reaction, he feels we should continue.
I take Claritin the morning of the infusion. When I get to the office, they give me 2 Tylenol, 2 Zyrtec and 50 mg. of Benedryl and 50 mg. of Solumedrol. I get another 50 mg of Benedryl just before the reaction. The reaction lasts no more than 4 to 6 minutes. I rest for 10 minutes and then she starts the IV back at 80 and the whole procedure lasts a little more than 3 hours. Granted, I am pretty tired and sleepy, but I drive home and get into bed and sleep for the night. All in all not too bad.
I am very lucky that my new nurse is a "no nonsense", let's get this done type of person and now that my infusions have been moved to every 4 weeks, I feel I am in pretty good hands.
Good luck to everyone on Remicade.
Presently on: 500 mg. Remicade every 6 weeks
15 mg. Methotrexate/injection weekly
12 Asacol daily