Thursday, October 18, 2007

Remicade FAQ

I've learned some more about Remicade and heard some questions from others. I'm sure that this information could be useful to someone currently taking or considering taking Remicade. This is not a complete guide to Remicade and is not medical advice. I offer this information as a service to others considering or currently undergoing Remicade treatment. For full information about Remicade and other treatment options, talk to your doctor or pharmacist and read the prescribing information.

Q. What is Remicade?
A. Remicade is a biologic response modifier (specifically a Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha, TNF-alpha, inhibitor) used to treat autoimmune diseases. Currently it is FDA approved for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Chron's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and severe plaque Psoriasis.

Q. How do you take it?
A. Remicade is given my intravenous infusion in a doctor's office, clinic, hospital or home health care setting. Infusions last anywhere from 1 to 4 hours. IVs aren't all that bad. Even if you don't have "good" veins, I've found that most infusion nurses are really good or know lots of tricks to make bad veins show up or both.

Q. How often do you take it?
A. An initial "ramp up" phase begins with infusions at weeks 0, 2 and 4. After that point, the typical interval is every 8 weeks. The dosing intervals are flexible, however. Some patients get infusions as often as every 4 weeks.

Q. How soon will I feel it working?
A. Improvement varies from person to person. Some people feel the effects immediately. For others it may take a few weeks, especially during the initial loading doses.

Q. What's with the dosages? I've heard it as 3 mg/kg and as 200 mg. Which is right?
A. Both. The recommended starting dosage for Remicade in Rheumatoid Arthritis is 3 mg/kg (for AS, PsA and psoriasis it is 5 mg/kg). Meaning, for every kilogram of your body weight, you receive 3 mg of Remicade. So, a person weighing 150 lbs weighs 68 kg. They would get 68 kg x 3 mg/kg = 204 mg. Usually doctors will use standard vials (100 mg each) for dosages, so they will round up or down. In this case, a 150 lb patient would most likely receive 200 mg or ~3 mg/kg.

Q. What is the maximum dosage?
A. 10 mg/kg is the maximum dosage. As stated above, the total mg dosage will vary depending on your weight.

1 comment:

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