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Updated November 2020
Infliximab belongs to a class of medicines called biological disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (biological DMARDs or bDMARDs). Specifically, it is a TNF inhibitor.
bDMARDs have now been given to over a million people worldwide since their first use in the late 1990s.
These medicines block substances, produced by arthritic tissues, called cytokines. These cytokines are found in excessive amounts in the blood and joints of people with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
They cause inflammation, which results in symptoms of pain, joint swelling and stiffness, and can lead to joint damage.
By blocking the cytokine called Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF), infliximab lessens inflammation, pain symptoms and helps stop further joint damage.
There are also biosimilar infliximab medicines. A biosimilar is a version of infliximab that has been shown to have similar benefits and safety as the original brand. You should not switch between different brands of infliximab unless told to do so by your rheumatologist. Make sure you are given the same brand each time. If you need to change brands, your rheumatologist will advise you and will check for side effects.
Infliximab may be safely used with other arthritis medicines including:
Infliximab cannot be used with other bDMARDs.
There are separate information sheets on the ARA website for the medicines mentioned above.
You might experience side effects with your treatment. Contact your rheumatologist if you have any concerns about possible side effects. Many side effects go away when infliximab is stopped.
Most common possible side effects
Less common or rare possible side effects
Use with other diseases
Worsening may occur of the following conditions:
Use with other medicines
If you are taking infliximab you should not be immunised with ‘live’ vaccines such as
More information is available on Vaccinations in Rhematology and COVID-19 vaccination.
Use with alcohol
Use in pregnancy and when breastfeeding