Getting Flu Shots While on Remicade

Just wondering about flu shots with Remicade…I am from the Northeast (prime flu area). I have NEVER had a flu shot in my life and have had only had the flu maybe once or twice. Everyone is telling me to get the flu shot (even the Doctor). I am hesitant bc #1 I’ve never had it in my system before and # 2 because I have been on Remicade (my 4th infusion is in Oct). Does anyone have any insight to this situation? I would love anyone’s input.

Thanks for your help!
Michelle

Tags: flu, Remicade, vaccine





21 Responses to “Getting Flu Shots While on Remicade”

  1. Reid Bryant KimballSeptember 8, 2010 at 6:29 pm #

    Don’t take the flu shot. They often contain toxic chemicals and you are already taking Remicade. You don’t need more toxic chemicals. Besides… getting the flu once in a while builds up your immune system and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  2. BenSeptember 8, 2010 at 7:19 pm #

    I disagree. Remicade suppresses your immune system, which can make catching the flu much more dangerous than it otherwise might be. Likewise (and perhaps even more so) with pneumonia. If you’re also on prednisone or another steroid (which also suppresses the immuneI system, more so still. It’s not a matter of building up the immune system for people on Remicade, it’s about taking care not to unnecessarily test a weakened immune system. This is why your doctor had you tested for TB (or at least should have) before starting the Remicade. Diseases that most people kick with little difficulty — like TB, or the flu, or pneumonia — can cause significant complications when you have a weakened immune system. If it were me (and it is, as I’m also on Remicade), I’d get a flu and pneumonia vaccine. Shots only, no nasal vaccine (which contain live virus).

    • MaggieSeptember 30, 2010 at 11:45 am #

      Thanks Ben…alot of great information there…

      I was just at my Dr.’s office having my coumadin levels checked and I was offered the flu shot, and, without hesitation, said yes…
      The nurse found my Dr. and asked her..she said yes to getting it..
      I, too, am on remicade and I am right in the middle of getting my next infusion. I didn’t get the flu shot last year and wound up with triple pneunomia and spend 8 days in the hospital. I didn’t know there was a pneumonia vaccine..I will definitely look into getting that..

      Maggie

  3. Paul WilloughbySeptember 9, 2010 at 3:52 am #

    I am on remicade and for that reason, my doctor recommends getting the flu shot. He also had me vaccinated for pneumonia. So, if you have any concerns discuss them with your doctor. It’s ok to ask for advice on the internet but I would also hope that you have a trust relationship with your family physician.

  4. Tony (UK)September 9, 2010 at 3:52 am #

    Do as your Doctor says, have the flu shot. He’s the professional who’s had medical training and should know what he’s doing. Flu kills people.

    • Reid Bryant KimballSeptember 9, 2010 at 6:48 am #

      There is such a thing as putting too much trust in your doctor. Remember, doctors are trained in one school of thought and that’s all they understand. They don’t know everything.

      As a patient, you need to become your own doctor and use your hired doctor as an adviser.

      • MichaelJanuary 11, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

        Or you know, don’t do what this guy says.

  5. AmySeptember 9, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    My mom gets Remicade for arthritis & she always gets the flu shot!

  6. MilkaSeptember 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    Part of me wants to tell you to go with your gut instinct but on the other hand I am on Remicade and I get the flu shot(esp because I work closely with the general public) and I have been fine. Your immune system is lowered with Remi so I guess if you dont want to have increased chances of getting the flu take the flushot. Also keep in mind the flu shot is only good to the viruses they know about…you can still get the flu, it may just be a strand that your shot couldnt protect you against. Sorry I couldnt give you a definate answer of what to do.

  7. MichelleSeptember 10, 2010 at 3:36 am #

    Thank you all for your responses! Interesting points of view! I will let you know what I decide!
    Thanks.
    Michelle

  8. SarahSeptember 29, 2010 at 7:15 pm #

    Ive been on Remicade for 6 years now. I’ve gotten flu shots every winter. I live in NYC so my chances of getting sneezed on on the train are gigantic. My doctor and I plan my flu shots for halfway between infusions so that my immune system is as strong as it can be. Don’t want to get it just before or just after or you could get sick. Obviously you can always get the flu but I say always be safe. Just remember no live vaccines!

    • AdamSeptember 29, 2010 at 7:38 pm #

      Yo Sarah,
      Way interesting idea about doing it halfway through. Are you taking your remicade for UC?

  9. Renee'October 6, 2011 at 7:08 am #

    I’ve been on Remicade for about 6 years. I’m waiting for a month to pass before getting my annual flu shot-anyone on a biologic had better go get a flu shot! Don’t mess around with your impaired immune system! I have a coworker that is very sick but she’s at work-sure hope I don’t catch anything from it!

  10. HeatherOctober 24, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    The flu shot is actually contraindicated for patients taking Remicade. My advice would be to ask your GI (or whoever prescribes your Remicade) I’m not saying it isn’t done, as a PP stated they do it halfway in between infusions. But you should definitely check with your GI, especially if you are on another med that inhibits the immune system such as predisone. And I would definitely go with the shot as opposed to the nasal spray because the nasal spray contains live virus.

  11. JudyNovember 25, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    It is ok, and even encouragged and good medical practice, to get inactivated/killed vaccines when immunosupressed on Remicade, prednisone, etc. The flu shot is safe, but not the nasal spray flu vaccine, as it is living, although weakened and could cause disease in people with suppressed immune systems. Immunization not only protects you, but then you aren’t at risk of infecting someone’s baby, your grand[arents, your co-workwers, students, patients or the person sitting next to you during your Remicade infusion or in the clinic, in case they didn’t take the vaccine.

  12. Dayle PriceOctober 15, 2012 at 7:40 am #

    I have RA and I just checked with my MD since I also am on Remicade. She says to get the vaccine but make sure it is 2 weeks before or 2 weeks after my Remicade Infusion.

  13. BeckyNovember 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    Don’t do it!! I’ve had 3 Remicaid infusions so far, was told to wait 2 weeks before getting a flu shot, no one said what might happen if I got a flu shot while on Remicaid…. The next day I had flu-like symptoms. Almost 3 weeks later – I STILL have flu-like symptoms. My rheumatologist said the flu shot messed up my immune system, and that’s why I feel like crap. So I can expect to start feeling better “in the next couple of weeks” – which means I will have had these flu-like symptoms (stiff neck, headache, nausea,body aches) for a whole month!

  14. Adam BourgoinNovember 2, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    You’ll be fine. I have been on Remicade for well over a year and got a flu shot last year and this year with no side effects.

  15. Shelley KDecember 30, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    I have been on Remicade for 5 years, 4 weeks apart, for Crohn’s. I got a pneumonia vaccine after being hospitalized for 9 days with it. On the advice of my GI and PCP docs, I’ve gotten a flu vaccine every year, and haven’t had the flu. No side effects either. This year I’m late getting my shot, and I have to wait another 2 weeks because my infusion is tomorrow. Hope I didn’t wait too long. You can’t do the nasal spray kind because it’s a live vaccine, but the killed vaccines are safe. I want to get a shingles vaccine, but it’s live so they won’t give it to me. :-(

    • MisterBibFebruary 5, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

      I had a flu shot in the fall, but I would get the flu in the late winter, so now I get one in the fall, then another in late winter, and NO flu the past three years!

  16. MildSeptember 17, 2013 at 5:14 am #

    I’ve been on Remicade for about 7 years and my doctor recommends the flu shot and the pneumonia shot. You should get it at least two weeks before your next treatment or wait at least two weeks after the treatment otherwise the Remicade will nullify the shot according to my doctor and pharmacist.

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