Thursday, 30 April 2009

Chrons Disease and Remicade

So what it Remicade?

  • First off it is important to note that Remicade is the brand name of the generic medication called infliximab.
  • Infliximab (Remicade) is an antibody that attaches to a protein called tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). TNF-alpha is one of the proteins produced by immune cells during activation of the immune system. TNF-alpha, in turn, stimulates other cells of the immune system to produce and release other proteins that promote inflammation.
  • Remicade is used to treat Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, as well as other conditions that cause inflammation.

How Does Remicade help people with Chrons Disease?

  • In Chrons disease, there is continued production of TNF-alpha as part of the immune activation. Remicade (Infliximab) attaches to TNF-alpha and blocks its activity and in so doing decreases the inflammation.
  • So Remicade helps put Crohn's into remission by neutralizing TNF-alpha. Remicade is therefore called a TNF "antagonist" that works with your body's immune system to block TNF-alpha, reducing inflammation
  • It is now generally agreed that people with chrons who respond well to an initial dose of Remicade will typically continue to improve with more treatments. If a patient does not respond to an initial dosage of Remicade, he or she is unlikely to respond with further treatment.
  • The people who respond well to Remicade, the improvements in symptoms can excellent, with rapid healing of the ulcers and the inflammation in the intestines after just one infusion.
  • Remicade has also been shown to be effective for treating anal fistulas.

How is Remicade (Infliximab) Made?

Infliximab is produced by the immune system of mice. The process involves injecting mice with with human TNF-alpha, the mouse antibody then is modified to make it look more like a human antibody, this is done to decrease the chances of an allergic reactions when it is given to humans. This modified antibody is infliximab.

What are the Side effects of Remicade (Infliximab)?

Remicade suppresses the immune system, generally the medication is well tollerated by the body, but it can have serious side effects and patients must be carefully monitored throughout the treatment.
  • Because infliximab is partly a mouse protein, it may induce an immune reaction when given to people with Chrons Diseas, especially with repeated infusions.
  • There is also the possibility of a delayed allergic reaction that occurs a week to ten days after receiving the infliximab.
  • There have been a few cases of side effects during the infusions, including chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea.
  • Rare cases of nerve inflammation such as inflammation of the nerve of the eye (optic neuritis )
So whilst Remicade represents an exciting new development in the fight against Chrons disease, the long-term safety and effectiveness of infliximab is not yet known.

1 comment:

Michael Kearney said...

Remicade is not for everyone. I have Perianal Chrons & 4 fistulas. I was on Remicade infusions and after 12 months I was taken to Hospital by ambulance witk terible pains. Following a Colonoscopy, it was discovered that I was worse than I was 12 months previously.
My consultant informed me that the Remicade didnt work.