Information for those with Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis Medications - Remicade/Infliximab

Remicade is the first new drug to become available to treat colitis in over 10 years - with the last new drug being azathioprine. Remicade - also know as Infliximab is not only a new drug - but also the first of a new type of drugs commonly known as biologics.

Biologics - the new breed of Drug

The first question many people will be asking is how does this drug differ from previous types of drug. The simple answer is that previous drugs were chemically based - and designed to alter or block a function of the body using chemical interactions. The new type of drugs are actually parts of living organisms that have been altered in order to make them medically useful in humans. In the case of Remicade/Infliximab the antibodies of mice have been altered in order to produce a change in the human immune system.

Is Remicade Available

The simple answer is yes - but it hasn't be universally accepted for use in colitis yet. In the US the FDA approved Remicade for use in Colitis in September 2005 - and in the UK it has been approved for use in Chron's disease. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence is now in the final stages of approving Remicade for Colitis - and more information can be found on the NICE web site at -

Infliximab for ulcerative colitis (appraisal consultation document)

How is Remicade Taken - and When is it used

Remicade is taken via a intravenous infusion - i.e. directly into the bloodstream and cannot be produced in tablet/oral form. This is because the antibodies involved are not able to pass from the digestive system into the body. The IV infusion need to be repeated about once every two months. Remicade is only used as the medicine of last resort - mainly due to it's expense. It is therefore only used when other medications such as mesalazine or azathioprine have failed.

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