I don’t know about cure, but this is a WONDER drug! For many people with Crohn’s disease, this was their last hope. They had tried the traditional route of treatments from Prednisone to 5-ASA’s to even immuno-suppressants. When these offer no help, it is Remicade or surgery. I’d personally choose Remicade.
Remicade (Inflixamab) is a biologic agent. The FDA approved this drug in August 1998. It is given intravenously. The infusion takes between 2 to 3 hours. During the infusion, the patients heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels and temperature are monitored. Some patients have experienced itching, hives, joint pain, lowered pulse or blood pressure. If these occur, the infusion is stopped for a few minutes then continued at a slower rate. For most patients, this alleviates the symptoms.
Remicade is not without side effects though. The most common is joint pain in the next couple of days following the treatment. Many patients say that they have flu like symptoms that begin about 1 to 2 weeks after the treatment. A few experience bronchitis. This may begin as early as the same day of the treatment up to 3 weeks after.
This treatment is usually given in these dosages:
1st treatment – 5mg per kilogram of body weight. 1kg is about 2.2lbs
2nd treatment – 10mg per kilogram
According to the patient’s reaction to the higher dose, the doctor will make the decision as to go back to the 5mg, stay at 10mg, or increase to 15mg. In the clinical trails, the patients were given these dosages in a double-blind study. Neither they nor the doctors knew if they were getting the real thing or the dosage. Most patients responded at the 5mg at the first treatment then increase to 10mg. The subsequent treatments back at the 5mg.
The first two treatments from the best gastroenterologist are given 1x per month or 1x every other month. The subsequent treatments are given as the patients needs, but nor more that six months apart. It has been noted that patients waiting longer than six months are having serious side effects such as excruciating joint pain, pneumonia and asthma.
If given correctly, the Crohn’s patient can have a normal healthy life. I have seen a patient come from taking 43 pills a day to 3 pills since taking Remicade. It is well worth a consideration.