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How Fast Does Remicade Work for Colitis

Infliximab also known as Remicade is a drug that is used to fight autoimmune diseases, and many ulcerative colitis patients know it rather well. In the drugs early days in the late 1990’s the drug was approved by the FDA to treat Crohn’s disease patients and in 2005 Remicade was also approved to treat UC patients. So, in the long history of drugs around the world, Remicade is relatively new to the scene, but the results from two large scale clinical trials showed some great signs to fight UC.

There is a long scientific theory on how the drug works to help UC patients, but the short version is based on the drugs ability to neutralize Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha. An even shorter label for Infliximab or Remicade is that it is considered an immunosuppressant drug. Somehow, Remicade knows how to suppress the immune system, and that is sometimes great. As many UC patients are told, UC symptoms are results of an overly active immune system where the body is constantly fighting and tearing up the colon causing the bleeding/pain/ and other common UC symptoms.

So, when does Remicade start working?

Over the past few months, I have come into contact via this website with quite a few people who have either tried Remicade previously or are currently using remicade to treat their ulcerative colitis. To give a general answer, I would definitely say that Remicade “works” quickly, often signs of improvement are noticed within the first 48 hours(if you take remicade and don’t see signs for two or three days, don’t freak out, other have said it has taken them over a week). For me, I noticed considerable positive signs that it was working within 24 hours. If you have been going to the bathroom and bleeding 10 plus times a day and in horrible pain, to see a drug like Remicade give you relief literally overnight is a pure miracle. Many people in the immunology world still consider Remicade a “Breakthrough Drug” of the past decade. From the clinical trials that were conducted several years ago, roughly 45% of patients who were treated with Remicade maintained a positive response to the medication after one year. That means that about half of patients with acute UC saw good signs after trying the medication for a year. The other half did not.

One of the concerns in the clinical world is that many patients who have a great initial positive response to their first remicade infusion may not go like that forever. Some patients who notice overnight or quick positive responses to Remicade might not have those same positive responses after their second or third or fourth infusion. This is what happened to me. Some of the speculation in the medical world is that people may develop antibodies to the medication which reduces its ability to perform its intended job as a treatment. Also, there is speculation that when patients who are using remicade use only once in a while, and not on a specific schedule, they have a higher chance of developing antibodies to the medication which make it less or not useful at all moving forward.
Needless to say, Remicade has the ability to work wonders, and it would not be too hard to find a few UC patients who have had great results with it, but like all medications, it’s not a 100% all the time type of drug. And for sure, there is no money back guarantee either.(I am still looking for a drug company who is offering a money back guarantee, please email if you know of one)

Here are some interesting facts about Infliximab aka Remicade:
-it was first concocted in mice as a mouse antibody
-it was originally used with patients who had Crohn’s Disease
-the cost for being on Remicade for a year can run around $20,000
-it is administered as an infusion with a needle and IV type of setup
-the infusion can last for a few hours, my infusions were usually 2-3 hours
-sometimes you are given a antihistamine pill prior to your infusion
-most insruance companies pay for the medication, but it needs to be medically necessary of course
-it is used for several other medical issues suck as skin diseases


If I could go back in time and had the option to either take Remicade or do nothing back in January 2009, would I take it?
My Answer: Yes. Although it did not work for me long term, and I discontinued using it after the third infusion, I was in such bad shape at the time I was looking for anything to see some relief other than having surgery. Since I had already hit my deductible with the insurance company, the Remicade infusion was totally covered as well.
If my kids came down with UC and they were given the option to try Remicade would I approve right now?
My Answer: No. I for sure would have my kids(if I ever have any) try the diet I am working with before going down the road of immune suppressants. If and only if diet did not work, would I consider immune suppressants, and at that point, I still wouldn’t want to be making that decision, that’s got to be a tough one for parents with children who have UC.

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autoimmune, drug, immune, infliximab

11 Responses to How Fast Does Remicade Work for Colitis

  1. tim September 2, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

    i have had 4 flare ups 1st one asacol worked, 2nnd one asacol and canasa,3rd one tried asacol ,cansa,colcort,and finally prednisone worked. this time none of the above worked.i have had 3 infusions and still no help i go back on prednise today.i wont do remicade again too expensive with no results.

    • Adam
      Adam September 2, 2010 at 5:59 pm #

      Hey Tim,
      Have you ever considered trying some alternative diet for your UC?
      You sound like me with regards to trying all types of meds without any luck. I highly recommend you try reading this book and the diet it describes, I just passed year one on it, and haven’t been to the doctors office once this year in 2010 and have been on no medications at all for 11 months now. I did the remicade, humira shots, asacol, colazal, enemas, you name it just like you and was meeting with knife weilding surgeons to take out my colon like happened to my uncle, and now I aint even thinking of that again.
      Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet
      Best of luck to you, I hate hearing stories about people like you who have gone through the ringer and tried all types of meds and not finding the answer. if you want to email me, my name is Adam, my email is ihaveuc@ihaveuc.com
      laters dude!

  2. Ariane February 23, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    My daughter had ulcerative colitis, diagnosed aug 2011. Having trouble with the medicines, 6mp, allopurinol, pentasa, predisone. Now on remicade, just had her 2nd infusion a few days early because she was having symptoms. She is only 10 years old and has been home from school for 5 weeks now. Its awful to see her go through this. Am curious about the diet you are using. Could you tell me about it?

    • Darrell April 30, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

      Omgoodness, so sad to see children with this illness. I have had UC for 18 yrs. and do not agree with children being put on Remicade. Has she ever tried rowasa? Yoh have to do every night for 6 weeks then every other night for 6 weeks. That combined with Asacol, and in severe cases add prednisone 40 mg. worked for me when I was so ill I considered suicide. You have to find a GOOD CONSERVATIVE GI doc, that is key, my first gi was a hack and I ended up at mayo and they saved me with the treatment I mentioned above. I hope she can get this under control, but remicade at 11 yrs old, not good.

  3. Lori October 16, 2012 at 7:53 am #

    What is the diet you referred to and where can I get more information on that? Currently on Remicade going on one year.

  4. InnerRise February 27, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

    Was diagnosed with Crohn’s at 16.

    28 now and have been on Pentasa and Imuran this entire time and have been relatively fine. Never had the diarrhea problems really.

    Then this past September started flaring for the first time. My September Dr. Appt. got pushed back until December. I was very upset. by the time my appointment came around. I had lost about 30 pounds, wasn’t working my management job anymore, no appetite, constant daily pain and bad constipation. I was so upset.

    Was immediately put on prednisone to fix me up quickly temporarily and paper work for Remicade began. My dr. Recommended that over Humira.

    Been on Prednisone for 5 weeks now. Feel so much better and would like to stop gaining weight now lol. Weirdly enough I have had a couple incidences of diarrhea. The first was 3 days before my first remicade infusion. The 2nd was the night after my infusion.

    I had my first infusion 2 days ago but before I had it, I asked my dr. If it was necessary since prednisone was working so well. I wanted to know if it was possible for me to tamper off prednisone, remain on my Imuran and see if I maintained that way. I no longer take Pentasa.

    She said no because Imuran was no longer working by itself before the prednisone.

    Keep in mind she is keeping me on the Imuran in conjunction with the remicade.

    So yeah. no diarrhea as of now. Don’t know if remicade is what caused the 2nd instance but I’m fine now. We’ll what my next visit to the bathroom is like.

    Thing is. Prednisone has me feeling so good, I have no idea whaT benefits I’m getting off the remicade and I won’t know until I’m weened complete off the prednisone.

    Gonna increase my tamper from 5mg to 10mg tonight to get off it faster now that I’m on remicade.

    I’ll let my dr. Know.

  5. Gary Langridge March 9, 2015 at 11:11 pm #

    I got diagnosed with Proctitis 20 years ago and got rid of it with Prednisone and Colifoam. It has returned and over the last 2 years it has come and gone and has now developed into UC. I have tried it all Azinathioprine Methotrexate Asacol Pentasa suppositories and most recently Infliximab. After 2 infusions it has done nothing. Really to keen to try Vedolizumab but cannot get in NZ as yet!!! Currently using an Elemental Diet and even that is of marginal benefit? Surgery is closing in……

  6. Thea February 23, 2016 at 9:59 pm #

    I am 31 and have had crohns for a minimum of 8 years (drs think I have had it since I was about 15). I was diagnosed in 2007 when I was so sick I had lost about 50 pounds and was literally walking death. They were in for exploratory surgery and found that I over 10 inches of my intestine had essentially exploded feom the crohns destroying it. That was my surgery and day of diagnosis. I have been completely controlling my crohns with diet until now. I have had very few flare ups (usually when I ate what I wasn’t supposed to!) However finding a dr that doesn’t think I am stupid for wanting to control my crohns dietary fashion is difficult at best. My dr is pressuring me very hard (has been for years!) To start a remicade infusion. Thank you for publishing a diet and getting the word out that there are more ways to treat this than just the autoimmune suppressants!

  7. PJ August 8, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

    Remicade has many positive results it seems.. I’ve had my loading dose and 2 Maintenance doses and have had over all good results but by no means am I in remission. The wrong food can make for several bad days! My energy level is generally good but still feel weak at times.. I’m hopeful the 3rd maintenance dose will get me to to the next level!! Everybody is different but I thought I’d be farther along! My UC was pretty severe when the colonoscopy was done.. Hoping things will improve soon!

  8. Lisa August 26, 2016 at 8:56 am #

    I was diagnosed with UC in October 2008. I don’t know where you all live but I have one of the worst female cases in my province. 100% of my colon is filled with ulcers. I am allergic to the ASA drugs. And ended up being put on prednisone for 6 months to suffer. I was going 18-22 times a day mostly pure blood. I lost 24 pounds in a months. I tried special diets, naturopaths, I had to drop out of a semester of college take a leave from work. This disease consumed my life. I fired my GI and found a new (younger one). He immediately took me off the steroids (or started the long weening off process) and put me on Remicade. Remicade changed my life. I started on 300mg/8 weeks. That’s worked for about 2 years… It was upped to 400mg/4 weeks for a few months and then every 8 after that. In 2010 my appendix exploded inside me. The doctors told me it was a result of having such severe UC. That sucked. I have a sizeable flare the fall on 2013 my biggest since being on the drug. I went 4 years without feeling being bothered. I was put back on prednisone (ugh) and my Remicade was increased to 700mg/4 weeks then 8 weeks after a couple months. I have been on that dose for the last 3 years. It’s been working. I’m in something my doctor called drug dependent remission. As soon as week 7 hits or of my Remicade gets pushed back. It all starts coming back. Sadly I’ll never live a life not on Remicade or something else. But now I am pregnant (13 weeks) It wore off quicker this time around 6 weeks and it was awful. I had Remicade yesterday but I am still feeling off. I have noticed some improvement but I am used to Remicade being immediate for me. But usually my mini flares between treatments don’t get as bad as this one. I guess I am just worried. Being nauseous, tired and pregnant On top of all the lovely UC symptoms has not been fun. Maybe it’ll take a bit more time to work completely. Anyway life with UC. What an adventure right?

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