Getting an Inflectra (Remicade) Infusion
Starting a new medication always makes me anxious. When my Humira stopped being effective, my doctor recommended we begin Inflectra (the equivalent to Remicade). I was not sure what to expect and the thought of getting an infusion made me worried. I was greatly concerned about the cost, but was also feeling uneasy about the time commitment needed to be on this treatment.
I have been on Inflectra since August 2021. I am currently scheduled to get a dose once every 4 weeks and, at the time of this writing, I have received six infusions. I was able to find some great resources to address my concerns before beginning my infusions, which helped greatly, so I wanted to share my experience so far.
Getting my infusion
The day before my infusion, I make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. This ensures the nurses don’t have too hard of a time getting my IV hooked up and saves me unnecessary pain. Sometimes, I even add Liquid IV to my water to make sure I get enough electrolytes (I am notoriously bad at drinking water and am often dehydrated).
The day of my infusion, I put on comfortable clothes, pack a bag, and eat something small. Eating something helps lessen any side effects from the medication. Once I arrive, I do a COVID check. I am then led to a room with recliners and tv. Most of the time I have a room to myself, but occasionally might share a room with someone. When this happens, we are usually separated by a screen or a wall. They always offer some snacks and water. The doctor comes in and does a check in: blood pressure, pulse, weight. He asks about any symptoms, improvements, or any issues. The nurse then comes in and puts the IV into my arm. They will then give me pre-meds (Benadryl, Pepcid, acetaminophen) to lessen any potential side effects. She then leaves to begin mixing the medicine.
The nurse comes in to hook up the medicine to my IV. I usually get sleepy and take a nap. However, I also bring a book to read or watch Netflix on the TV they provide. The nurses and doctor come to check in every so often. At first, I had side effects like nausea, fatigue, and dizziness. Now, if I make sure I eat and drink water I don’t have many side effects. Once the medication is done (usually 2.5 hours later) they take the IV out, wrap my hand/arm, and I schedule my next appointment. I drive home and usually take a long nap.
After six infusions, I am starting to see a difference. Getting the infusion is generally not unpleasant, but it did take some time to see any changes. I saw the most progress after the fourth infusion. I see my dermatologist every three months to monitor my progress.
Overall, I’d say that I am seeing some progress and it has been getting better as time goes on. As we know, there is no cure for HS and I still have flares occasionally. But overall I have some faith that the Inflectra will help my quality of life... at least for now!
Have you shared your HS story?