Rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and other inflammatory conditions affecting the joints, skin, and digestive system can be treated with Remicade. The medication works by keeping the immune system from attacking the body, which improves symptoms and, in some cases, prevents future damage from occurring. Some off-label uses for Remicade include treating Behcet's disease and acute graft-versus-host disease.
What Is Remicade Used For?Remicade® (infliximab) is a prescription medication licensed to treat certain inflammatory conditions that affect the joints, skin, or digestive system. Specific uses for Remicade include the treatment of:
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Crohn's disease
- Plaque psoriasis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ulcerative colitis.
Ankylosing spondylitis is an autoimmune disease that causes painful arthritis of the spine. The immune system begins functioning abnormally and starts attacking the spine. This results in pain and stiffness, especially in the lower back. Other ankylosing spondylitis symptoms may include changes in vision and possible problems with the heart, lungs, or digestive system.
Remicade can be used to reduce the signs and symptoms of active cases of ankylosing spondylitis.
Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD. There are several different types of IBD, with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis being the most common. They all cause chronic inflammation in the digestive tract. Although much research is under way, Crohn's disease causes are not well understood.
Depending on how serious your condition is, your doctor may recommend one or more treatment options. These include:
- Medications (see Crohn's Disease Medications)
- Dietary changes (see Crohn's Disease Diet)
- Lifestyle changes (see Living With Crohn's Disease)
- Nutritional supplementation
- Surgery (see Crohn's Disease Surgery).
Although Remicade is not a Crohn's cure, it is approved to reduce the signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease and to maintain remission. The drug is also approved to reduce the number of fistulas -- one of the complications of Crohn's disease. These are sores and ulcers that become deep and tunnel through the different layers of the intestines and into the tissues of nearby organs, such as:
- The rectum
- Other parts of the intestine
- The bladder
- The vagina
- The skin.
Psoriasis is a fairly common condition of the skin and joints. It causes problems because the immune system attacks the skin and joints. Symptoms of psoriasis include thick, scaly patches (plaques) on the skin, especially near the elbows and knees.
Remicade is used for treating chronic plaque psoriasis in adults over age 18. The drug can improve the signs and symptoms of psoriasis, but it is not a cure.