Colitis Home > Infliximab

How Does It Work?

Infliximab is part of a class of medicines known as tumor necrosis factor inhibitors, or TNF inhibitors for short. As the name implies, infliximab blocks the activity of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). TNF-alpha is a naturally occurring chemical in the body that is involved in inflammation and other immune system functions.
 
People with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease often have higher levels of TNF. These high levels can cause inflammation and lead to problems. By blocking TNF-alpha, infliximab helps to relieve the symptoms of these conditions and, in some cases, prevent future damage from occurring. However, infliximab does not cure these conditions.
 

Effects

Infliximab has been studied in several clinical trials for the following conditions:
 
 
Ankylosing Spondylitis
Clinical studies have shown that infliximab is effective at improving the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis. People taking the drug showed greater improvements in their symptoms when compared to those not taking it.
 
Crohn's Disease
Infliximab was also studied for Crohn's disease treatment. In one study, up to 81 percent of those taking the drug showed improvement in their symptoms, compared to just 16 percent of those not taking it. Infliximab also increased the chance of remission, and people taking the drug were more likely to stop taking steroids for Crohn's disease.
 
Infliximab was also shown to decrease the number of fistulas in people with Crohn's disease. Other studies have shown that the medication is safe and effective for treating Crohn's disease in children as young as six years old.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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