Infliximab is used in adults to treat rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory disorder that typically affects the small joints in hands and feet), psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis (arthritis associated with a skin disease called psoriasis) and ankylosing spondylitis (spinal arthritis causing ankylosis of vertebral and sacroiliac joints). It is also used to treat Crohn’s disease (serious inflammation of gastrointestinal tract) and ulcerative colitis (disease that causes ulcers on the lining of the large gut).
How it works
Infliximab is a disease modifying drug that belongs to a class of medications called TNF? inhibitors. It works by blocking the activity of a protein (TNF?) thereby suppressing white blood cells function (macrophage and T-cell), reducing the inflammation in joints, and preventing new erosions (disease modifying action).
Common side effects
Abdominal pain, Back pain, Flushing, Gastrointestinal discomfort, Vomiting, Nausea, Headache, Heartburn, Running nose, Vaginal itching, Vaginal discharge, White spots in the mouth, White patches on the tongue, White spots in the throat
- Do not start infliximab if you have infection, abnormal skin opening (fistulae), any serious heart, lung or neurological disease, in past tuberculosis or fungal infection, cancer, are heavy smoker, recently had vaccine or BCG instillation for treatment of cancer, have taken infliximab in past.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you get signs of infection including fever, cough, flu-like signs, red or hot skin, wounds or dental problems, feel unwell, allergic reaction, suffer from heart, liver, lung or nervous system problems, immune system disorder called lupus, low blood count.
- Make sure that your child has taken all vaccinations before taking infliximab.
- Use effective contraceptive measures while on infliximab treatment.
- Do not drive or operate heavy machineries if you feel dizzy after taking infliximab.
- Tell your doctor if you are or planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.
Frequently asked questions
Q. Is infliximab a disease modifying antirheumatic drug, a steroid, chemo drug?
Yes infliximab is a disease modifying antirheumatic drug. It is not a steroid or chemo drug.
Q. Is infliximab dangerous/hazardous or safe?
Infliximab is safe if used at prescribed doses for the prescribed duration as advised by your doctor.
Q. Can I take antibiotics with infliximab?
Infliximab may interact with antibiotic. Do consult your doctor before you take antibiotic while on infliximab treatment.
Q. Does infliximab cause weight gain, hair loss, make you tired, affect fertility?
Yes, infliximab can cause weight gain, hair loss and make you tired. Infliximab does not affect fertility.
Q. Does infliximab cause cancer?
Infliximab can increase the risk of developing cancer.