Remicade = Chemotherapy?

There seems to be so much contradictory info out there and it was scary at first so I thought I would do my best to explain it, keeping to the facts, but also addressing the emotions that go with the label.

Remicade is classified as a chemotherapy drug, insurance will bill it as a chemo charge, and the price tag is up there with other more well known chemos.  Chemotherapy is basically any chemical therapy.  Remicade is infused into the body with an IV, and it works basically in two ways.  It lowers the immune system ( Psoriatic Arthritis is basically an over active immune system)by binding the TNF-alphas, and it attacks and kills T lymphocytes. The meds I have taken by inject in the past do cause programmed cell death so I assume that may be why they are not considered Chemo but Remicade is.

This is also a Monoclonal Antibody, meaning it goes after a specific target, sometimes called a magic bullet, which differs from Cancer chemo because from what I understand that Chemo attacks all the cells of the body.  Remicade can be taken for long periods of time without the most grueling side  effects of cancer drugs.  A couple of regularly used medications for Psoriatic Arthritis are also used for some certain types of cancer, including both Remicade and Methatrexate, but its important to understand that Psoriatic Arthritis is not a type of cancer, and that chemotherapies are used for more than one type of illness.  That being said in conversation I am going to emphasis the word treatment and try to avoid the word chemotherapy.



Filed under Health, Infusions, PsA, Remicade

2 responses to “Remicade = Chemotherapy?

  1. Grace byrd

    How long do u have to do the infuses

    • It takes from 3-6 hours, every 6 weeks (most people have it every 8 weeks, but some have it every four weeks). I will have them for the rest of my life as long as they continue to be helpful, or until a better medicine comes out.

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