Infliximab injection is used to relieve the symptoms of certain autoimmune disorders (conditions in which the immune system attacks healthy parts of the body and causes pain, swelling, and damage) including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Crohn's disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Psoriatic arthritis
Infliximab injection is in a class of medications called tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitors. It works by blocking the action of TNF-alpha, a substance in the body that causes inflammation.
How should this medicine be used?
Infliximab injection comes as a powder to be mixed with sterile water and administered intravenously (into a vein) by a doctor or nurse. It is usually given in a doctor's office once every 2 to 8 weeks, more often in the beginning of your treatment and less often as your treatment continues. It will take about 2 hours for you to receive your entire dose of infliximab injection.
Infliximab injection may cause serious allergic reactions during an infusion and for 2 hours afterward. A doctor or nurse will monitor you during this time to be sure you are not having a serious reaction to the medication. You may be given other medications to treat or prevent reactions to infliximab injection. Tell your doctor or nurse immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms during or shortly after your infusion: hives; rash; itching; swelling of the face, eyes, mouth, throat, tongue, lips, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs; difficulty breathing or swallowing; flushing; dizziness; fainting; fever; chills; seizures; and chest pain.
Infliximab injection may help control your symptoms, but it will not cure your condition. Your doctor will watch you carefully to see how well infliximab injection works for you. If you have rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn's disease, your doctor may increase the amount of medication you receive, if needed. If you have Crohn's disease and your condition has not improved after 14 weeks, your doctor may stop treating you with infliximab injection. It is important to tell your doctor how you are feeling during your treatment.
Other uses for this medicine
Infliximab injection is also sometimes used to treat Behcet's syndrome (ulcers in the mouth and on the genitals and inflammation of various parts of the body). Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to infliximab injection, any medications made from murine (mouse) proteins, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in infliximab injection. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don't know whether a medication you are allergic to is made from murine proteins. Ask your pharmacist or check the Medication Guide for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the medications listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section and any of the following: anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin), cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune), and theophylline (Theochron, Theoloair, Uniphyl). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had congestive heart failure (condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to other parts of the body). Your doctor may tell you not to use infliximab injection.
- tell your doctor if you have ever been treated with phototherapy (a treatment for psoriasis that involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light) and if you have or have ever had a disease that affects your nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis (MS; loss of coordination, weakness, and numbness due to nerve damage), Guillain-Barre syndrome (weakness, tingling, and possible paralysis due to sudden nerve damage) or optic neuritis (inflammation of the nerve that sends messages from the eye to the brain); numbness, burning or tingling in any part of your body; seizures; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; a group of diseases that affect the lungs and airways); any type of cancer; bleeding problems or diseases that affect your blood; or heart disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using infliximab injection, call your doctor. If you use infliximab injection during your pregnancy, be sure to talk to your baby's doctor about this after your baby is born. Your baby may need to receive certain vaccinations later than usual.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using infliximab injection.
- do not have any vaccinations without talking to your doctor. Also tell your doctor if you have recently received a vaccine. If your child will be treated with infliximab injection, talk to his or her doctor about vaccinations that should be given before the start of treatment. If possible, your child should be given all vaccinations needed for children of his or her age before beginning treatment.
- you should know that you may have a delayed allergic reaction 3 to 12 days after you receive infliximab injection. Tell your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms several days or longer after your treatment: muscle or joint pain; fever; rash; hives; itching; swelling of the hands, face, or lips; difficulty swallowing; sore throat; and headache.
Take infliximab exactly as directed by your doctor.
Read the medication guide that you receive with the medication for a complete list of possible side effects.
Speak with your doctor if you are concerned about possible side effects that you may be experiencing.
Last updated: November 2017
Source: National Institutes of Health