Posted 5/25/2009 5:09 PM (GMT -7)
As far as Katmom's post, Humira is very similar to Remicade but it's not been approved for UC yet. There may be issues having your insurer cover it. Some will cover Humira, but only if you've been on Remicade and it's stopped working for you. It's basically the same except the protein it's derived from differs and is supposedly less likely to cause antibodies forming. Also rather than getting it as an infusion in a clinic or hospital setting you can self-inject Humira with a pen-like device.
I don't believe there are fertility issues with Remicade, at least I haven't noticed any on the drug manufacturer's info. Since that is a major concern of yours it's definitely something to bring up with your doctor.
I was VERY nervous about starting on Remicade and now I feel silly about having been so upset about it. I have not had any negative experiences on it and it's really been a godsend for me. I am about as in remission as I think I can be. It let me get off Prednisone after two years of steroid-dependence and those side-effects, which were far worse than anything I think Remicade can throw at me. The most serious of Remicade's side-effects are quite rare, while Pred's side-effects happen to virtually everyone on it for any length of time.
I was worried about getting infections or ill, and except that the odd cold hangs on longer than it used to, for the most part I have never been healthier (likely due to hyper-vigilance about mine and my family's hand washing).
My mornings I tend to go with great urgency for the first hour or so I am awake, but then I am FINE for the rest of the day -- I have my life back. I get my infusions every six weeks (eight week intervals are the norm) and toward the last week, week and half I start to bleed a bit, but it doesn't progress into a flare and there are no other symptoms, no pain.
The infusions can take several hours, so bring a book, laptop or MP3 player to keep yourself occupied.
As far as keeping your condition secretive, you may want to be more open with people. I am, and I have found friends to be very supportive and helpful, and you'd be surprised at how many people know someone or are close to someone with some form of inflammatory bowel disease or IBS.
Remicade seems to be relatively safe and effective and mostly well-tolerated. Goodluck with whatever decision you make. By the way, if the medications concern you, research the surgery, it seems to be a very good option -- I am currently saving my money so I can afford the time off for recovery, I am self-employed with a very physical job, the Remicade is buying me time, but as well as I am tolerating it, I don't fancy being on a drug that is costing my insurer $5K every six weeks -- I really fear losing coverage. Surgery permanently rectifies the problem.
47 yr old female, dx'd UC April 27, 2006; mild arthritis in lower back, dx'd May 2008; Osteopenia dx'd 6/08 Finally achieved remission mid October 2008!!
15 Remicade infusions, current scheduled every 6 weeks: 1st: 7/21/07; most recent: 4/25/09; Current meds & supplements: Lialda, 4 tabs in the morning; Xanax as needed (rarely); Rowesa and/or Canasa; multivitamin w/folate; Culturelle; Fish oil capsules, calcium chews and/or Tums; Vitamin D;
Past meds: Prednisone 4/06-4/08; Entocourt EC; Asacol; Colazal; Venofer (iron) injections Dec '07; Imuran (extremely bad reaction 2/07); Protonix; Lexipro