|Generic||Brand name||UC FDA Approved||Crohn’s FDA Approved|
How is it administered?
Anti-TNFs are administered either by subcutaneous injection (adalimumab and certolizumab) or as an intravenous infusion over two hours (infliximab).
When will I feel better?
Some people respond to Remicade in the first 24 to 72 hours after an infusion. But it may take the initial three infusions over the course of three weeks to experience some symptom relief. With Humira and Cimzia, the maximum relief usually comes after people have received the first several starting doses given over four to eight weeks. Sometimes symptoms improve sooner. In general, about two out of every three patients people respond within the first doses of an anti-TNF medication. Between 30% and 50% will maintain a response for a year. Those doing well after a year will probably keep on doing well. Dosage adjustments are common. Between 30% and 50% of patients will require a change in dose, or a change in the interval between doses, some time during the course of therapy. About one in every 10 patients stop taking a particular anti-TNF drug each year because it stops working or because of its side effects. If that happens to you, you might switch to a different anti-TNF medication or to different class of medications.
Before starting any anti-TNF medication, you will need to be tested for tuberculosis and hepatitis B. Anti-TNF medications can result in a reactivation of latent TB and hepatitis B infections. If either the TB or hepatitis tests are positive, you will need to be treated for those diseases before starting your medication.
- injection site reactions
- liver abnormalities
- Lupus-like syndrome
- worsening of congestive heart failure
- nervous system disorders
How long do I need to take an anti-TNF medication?
Anti-TNFs are designed to be taken as maintenance treatment to treat and prevent flares. You will probably need to take anti-TNF medication for many years, even during the times when you are feeling well.
Anti-TNF drugs while Pregnant
Women planning to become pregnant should discuss their treatment options with their care team in clinic. Usually women are advised to continue with their maintenance therapy during their pregnancies. An uncontrolled flare of your disease can be harmful to the baby. Studies have not shown an increase in any adverse events for the mother or fetus when the mother is treated with Remicade or Humira during their pregnancy.