Although there is no cure for Crohn's disease, there are many different treatment methods that can help reduce or eliminate the symptoms you experience. Medications used are divided into different categories – antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, immunomodulators, and biological agents. The treatment method that you and your doctor choose will depend on how much of your gastrointestinal tract is involved, and how severe your condition is.
One of the most popular is a drug called Remicade, which is similar to another much used medication called Humira. Here, you will learn the ins and outs of Remicade, including the dosages, the side effects, and what studies have shown when used in the treatment of Crohn's disease.
What is Remicade?
Remicade is the brand name for the drug infliximab, which helps to reduce inflammation in the body by reducing the substance that is causing it. It is used in the treatment of Crohn's disease, as well as other inflammation-related conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. Its primary goal is to reduce the inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.
How it Works Against Crohn's Disease
When you have Crohn's disease, your body's immune system becomes overworked. In turn, your body's immune system then produces too much of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), a protein found naturally in your body. However, when there is too much TNF-alpha, the immune system begins to attack the healthy cells in your body, particularly those in your gastrointestinal tract. This is what causes the inflammation. Remicade is used to prevent the excess TNF-alpha from attacking, thus reducing or eliminating the inflammatory response.
Remicade is most often chosen for individuals who have moderate to severe Crohn's disease whose bodies have been unresponsive to other forms of treatment. Along with reducing painful symptoms, it is also effective in promoting a healthy intestinal tract, and reducing the need for steroids in patients with ulcerative colitis.
Administration & Side Effects
Remicade is given by an intravenous (IV) infusion, which can only be administered by a healthcare professional. The medication enters directly into the blood stream to quickly begin reducing symptoms associated with Crohn's disease.
As with all medications, it does have a few side effects. Rash, stuffy nose and headache are normal. While there are some more serious adverse reactions associated with the use of Remicade, such as problems with vision, hair loss, and mouth sores, these are rare. It is important, however that you speak with your physician if you experience any of them, particularly those that seem more serious.
Pros & Cons – According to Patients
Most patients who have used Remicade are very satisfied with it. Although they may experience minor symptoms, such as weight loss and fatigue, they do tend to notice much difference in their overall health. For some, Remicade was their last resort, and after several treatments, have felt 100 percent better than when they didn't have the treatments.
Although many people have been successful on Remicade, not everyone has the same success. There are some individuals who have felt worse after the treatments, felt no relief, and are still in search of a medication that could help them feel better, reduce and eliminate the symptoms they experience as a result of their Crohn's disease.
If you want to read about some of our visitor's experiences with Remicade for Crohns just follow the link to our forum.
Research & Studies on Remicade
According to clinicaltrials.gov, there is still an ongoing study regarding Remicade being conducted by Janssen Research & Development, LLC. The purpose of the study is to determine the long-term effects and safety of the medication for patients who have ulcerative colitis. Although this is a different condition than Crohn's the symptoms are similar, so the effects of the medication are similar. Currently, there are no study results available, but the trial is set to be completed by November 2015, with final data being collected in October of the same year.
There are many different medications that you can try, so if Remicade doesn't seem to be working for you, don't be discouraged. There are other drugs in the same category that might be better for you, or perhaps another class of drugs will yield better results. Don't give up hope...there is an answer out there for you, and new treatments are being developed all the time.
Do you have any experiences with Remicade you'd like to tell us about? Feel free to send it along and we'll post it here on the site to help others learn more about its effectiveness for Crohns.