Remicade is prescribed to treat different forms of arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and ankylosing spondylitis, along with severe forms of plaque psoriasis. Remicade was approved by the FDA in 1998 and is typically administered at a doctor’s office by injection. It is classified as an anti-tumor necrosis factor antibody (anti-TNF).
Remicade has been thought to cause serious infections and cancer in some cases. This drug decreases the body’s ability to fight infection and thus makes a patient much more susceptible to such conditions. According to a study conducted by the American Medical Association, Remicade can double the risk of a patient contracting tuberculosis or pneumonia. Fungal infections such as histoplasmosis, blastomycosis and cocciioidmycosis have also been linked to the use of Remicade. In some cases, these infections resulted in death. Many times these infections can go untreated because of their similarity to the flu.
In 2004, Remicade’s manufacturer informed doctors and patients of an increased risk of lymphoma after using the drug. Non-melanoma skin cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer were also linked to Remicade use. In a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, it was found that the use of Remicade made patients three times more likely to develop some type of cancer. The risk was also seen to be increased whenever the dosage was raised in a patient. At least 30 cases of childhood cancer were seen in medications such as Remicade and other anti-TNF drugs.
Remicade has also been linked to life-threatening liver damage. This side effect can be so severe that it requires long-term medical treatment and some have even had to receive a liver transplant due to the severity of the damage.
In a report presented by Dutch researchers, it was also found that one in four patients taking Remicade have reported some kind of skin problem. This can range from mild to severe, and has been seen through infection, eruptions, eczema and more.
Serious side effects may include:
- Fever, night sweats, weight loss, tiredness
- Feeling full after eating only a small amount
- Pain in your upper stomach that may spread to your shoulder
- Easy bruising or bleeding, pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate
- Nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes )
- Signs of infection (fever, chills, flu symptoms, confusion, or pain, warmth, or redness of your skin)
- Chest pain, ongoing cough, coughing up mucus or blood
- Shortness of breath with swelling of your ankles or feet, rapid weight gain
- Numbness or tingling
- Easy bruising or bleeding, pale skin, unusual weakness
- Weak feeling in your arms or legs
- Problems with vision
- Neck stiffness, seizure (convulsions)
- Pain or burning when you urinate
- Red, purple, or scaly skin rash, hair loss, joint or muscle pain, mouth sores
Less serious side effects may include:
- Stuffy nose, sinus pain, headache
- Mild stomach pain
- Mild skin rash
- Flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling)