I have gotten some feedback from those that have gotten Remicade infusions for their Crohn's. It reminds me the second time I got remicade. I guess there is a high chance for an allergic reaction if you start on remicade and then stop before you have had a certain number of treatments. I want to say it is four. Anyways, I went to the infusion center in Winter Park (Florida) and got hooked up. I was fine after the test dose, so they turned up the drip. Ooops, I had a pretty severe allergic reaction, breaking out in hives and experiencing shortness of breath. I got loaded up with bendedryl, steroids and antibiotics through my IV. I was unable to return to work and went home extremely doped up.
Here is an interesting article on the success or Humira when Remicade fails:
ROCHESTER, Minn., May 2 (UPI) -- Adalimumab -- sold as Humira -- works on Crohn's disease for those adults who fail on infliximab, sold as Remicade, say Mayo Clinic scientists in Minnesota.
A study of 325 subjects with the disorder who were treated with Humira or placebo, showed that after four weeks 21 percent of the Humira group were in complete remission and 52 percent noted an improvement in their symptoms.
In contrast, only 7 percent of the placebo group went into remission and just 34 percent had fewer symptoms.
The study was done at 52 centers in the United States, Canada, and Europe on patients with moderate to severe Crohn's disease whose symptoms persisted on Remicade or who had developed an allergic reaction to the medication.
"Approximately 50 percent of Crohn's disease patients ... will eventually develop an allergic reaction (to Remicade), need higher doses, or stop responding to the therapy," said researcher William Sandborn. "This study demonstrates that, in the short term, Humira can be safely administered ... to these patients (for) a second chance at remission and a significant improvement in quality of life."
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory, autoimmune disorder of the gastrointestinal tract that produces abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, weight loss and diarrhea. Currently there is no known cure.
A report on the research was published May 2, 2007 in the online issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
UPI May 2, 2007
Another great Remicade Story -
Thirty-two years ago Ginger Gray walked into her doctor's office complaining of abdominal pain, diarrhea, severe weight loss, and overwhelming joint pain. At 19, she hadn't grown an inch since the sixth grade. But her doctor said there was nothing physically wrong with her, and even suggested she seek psychiatric counseling. Fortunately for Gray, she sought another physician's opinion. Based on tests he conducted, the doctor recommended the 4-foot-11-inch Pennsylvania resident begin full-time treatment for Crohn's disease.
"Crohn's disease robbed me of my stamina," Gray says. "It took two years for me to fully regain my strength and weight so that I could begin working again."
Until now, treatment for Crohn's has relied on surgery and anti-inflammatory and other drugs also used to treat other conditions. In August 1998, the Food and Drug Administration licensed the first treatment specifically for Crohn's disease, an incurable and sometimes debilitating inflammation of the bowel.
Remicade (infliximab) is a genetically engineered antibody that blocks inflammation caused by a protein called tumor necrosis factor. After clinical trials showed benefit from Remicade treatment within a two-to-four week period following a single dose, FDA approved the drug for patients with moderate to severe Crohn's disease who have not found relief with other treatments.
"We recognized that [Remicade] had such a dramatic effect on patients," says Barbara Matthews, M.D., a medical officer in FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, "that it was given accelerated approval."
Remicade, which is taken intravenously, can decrease the amount of inflammation along the lining of the intestine. Clinical trials also show that Remicade is effective in closing fistulas (abnormal passages or sores between the bowel and skin). Although not a cure, the drug reduces the symptoms in patients who have not responded well to traditional treatments.
"This is an exciting development for two reasons," says R. Balfour Sartor, M.D., professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology at the University of North Carolina, and chairman of the National Scientific Advisory Committee for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). "It is the first therapy for Crohn's disease derived by molecular techniques, and it has the possibility of improving the quality of life for [Crohn's] patients."
But Sartor also cautions that the long-term toxic effects of Remicade are unknown and that the drug is not needed by every Crohn's disease patient. "Two-thirds of the people will have near immediate results," he says, "but only those patients who do not respond to other therapies" are eligible to take the drug. The next step is to maintain a patient's remission after the drug's initial effect has worn off.
Currently, studies are being done to better define the risks and longer-term benefits of Remicade because drug reactions and potential adverse effects from suppressing tumor necrosis factor require further clarification.
- by Carol Lewis, FDA Consumer