Immunomodulators and biologic treatments can effectively induce and maintain remission of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Crohn’s-Colitis Disease, while reducing the need for steroids. If you are a candidate for an infusion to treat your IBD or Crohn’s, you will receive a medication containing an antibody that blocks a substance called TNF. (TNF stands for “Tumor Necrosis Factor” but is unrelated to tumors or cancer.) It is believed that TNF plays an important role in causing inflammation and damage of the intestinal wall. Overproduction of TNF may lead to a flare-up of Crohn’s symptoms.
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You will receive an IV (intravenous) infusion of a biologic anti-inflammatory treatment. This means that you will arrive at our office, where we will insert a needle into a vein in your arm and begin infusing (or administering through a tube inserted into your vein) the medication. Currently, there are three brand names on the market – Remicade®, Cimzia® and Tysabri®.
While the medicine is being infused, you may relax and read or listen to music on your personal listening device. The infusion takes about 2 hours, but your total time (including paperwork and prep) will be approximately 3 hours. A nurse will check on you periodically and will be available for questions.
You don’t need to do anything to prepare. You may eat and drink as you normally would.
Most people don’t any experience any side effects. However, a small number of people notice some bothersome, but not dangerous, side effects including headache, nausea, itching, stinging, dizziness, fatigue, and fever. An antihistamine (such as Benadryl®) or acetaminophen (Tylenol®) may be taken. If this happens consistently, your healthcare provider may recommend that take these medicines prior to your scheduled infusion.
Other, more serious, complications may include infections or joint pain. Report all side effects (of any degree) to your healthcare provider.