Do you need any investigations before having an Infliximab infusion?

Yes – you will need to have a chest x-ray (if you have not had a recent chest x-ray or chest CT Scan). This is to ensure that you do not have (or have ever had) tuberculosis (TB), as anti-TNF agents can, in some cases, re-activate past TB. We will also take some blood tests which will also check for underlying infections.

What are the benefits of having an Infliximab infusion?

Anti-TNF agents are used to treat inflammation of the bowel and keep it under control when other treatments have not been able to manage symptoms.

What side effects can I expect from Infliximab?

Side effects are uncommon (fewer than 1 in 10 people) and are usually mild. Any side effects are most likely to occur during the infusion or in the few days afterwards.

Side effects include:

  • Cold and flu-like symptoms (runny nose, shivering and headaches)
  • Dizziness
  • Flushing or rashes
  • Swelling of hands, feet, lips or mouth
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain

In rare cases, patients may have an allergic reaction. If this occurs the infusion will be stopped and medical attention will be sought. The infusion may be restarted at a slower rate depending on symptoms.

Anti-TNF agents work by suppressing the immune system - therefore your risk of infection are increased. If you are unwell on the day of your scheduled Infliximab infusion it is important that you tell the team, as it may be necessary to delay treatment.

Urgent alert

If you experience any side effects after discharge, you can contact the The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre Hotline on 0800 169 5555 (available 24/7), where a trained nurse will carry out a telephone assessment and advise the best course of action.

Are there alternative treatments available?

This should be discussed with your specialist team. For some patients it may be possible to consider a treatment called Vedolizumab.