What to Know About Inflectra (Infliximab-Dyyb)

A Remicade biosimilar for RA and other inflammatory conditions

Intravenous infusion with Inflectra
caiaimage/Martin Barraud/OJO+/Getty Images
In This Article

Inflectra (infliximab-dyyb) is a biosimilar to Remicade (infliximab). It's a liquid drug that's given intravenously (through a vein) as a treatment for a variety of inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, plaque psoriasis, and Crohn's disease.

A biosimilar drug is "highly similar" to a biologic drug. Inflectra, like Remicade, blocks the action of an immune-system cell called tumor necrosis factor (TNF). This class of drugs is called TNF antagonists, anti-TNF drugs, or TNF blockers.

Inflectra was the first Remicade biosimilar to be approved. The FDA has since approved several others: Renflexis (infliximab-abda), Ixifi (infliximab-qbtx), and Avsola (infliximab-axxq).

Uses

Inflectra is FDA-approved for treating several diseases and conditions:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis, moderately to severely active: In combination with the drug methotrexate, Inflectra reduces signs and symptoms, inhibits the progression of joint damage, and improves physical function.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis, active: Reduces signs and symptoms
  • Psoriatic arthritis, active: Reduces signs and symptoms, inhibits the progression of structural damage, and improves physical function
  • Plaque psoriasis (adults): Treats chronic, severe cases in candidates for systemic therapy, and when other systemic therapies are less medically appropriate
  • Crohn's disease, moderately to severely active (adults, children over 6): Reduces signs and symptoms, induces and maintains clinical remission in those who've had an inadequate response to conventional treatment.
  • Fistulating disease Crohn's disease (adults): Reduces the number of draining fistulas and maintains fistula closure
  • Ulcerative colitis, moderately to severely active (adults): Reduces signs and symptoms, induces and maintains clinical remission and mucosal healing, and eliminates corticosteroid use in those who've had an inadequate response to conventional therapy

Inflectra may also be used off-label (without FDA approval) in other autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.

Before Taking

Before prescribing Inflectra or another TNF blocker, your doctor may perform tests to gauge your level of disease activity. This may include checking standard markers of inflammation, such as the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR or sed rate) or C-reactive protein (CRP). It may also contain disease-specific tests such as the Vectra DA blood test for rheumatoid arthritis disease activity.

Inflectra is sometimes given as a first-line treatment (the first one you try) but is more often a second-line treatment given only after other treatments have failed. Much of this depends on what it's prescribed for.

For rheumatoid arthritis, Inflectra plus methotrexate may be used as a first-line treatment. Inflectra may also be a second-line treatment after methotrexate alone or methotrexate plus another TNF blocker have failed.

For ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and some cases of plaque psoriasis, it may be used as a first-line treatment or as a replacement for another TNF blocker that hasn't been successful.

Inflectra is considered only as a second-line treatment for:

  • Some cases of plaque psoriasis
  • Crohn's disease
  • Ulcerative colitis

Precautions and Contraindications

While FDA-approved drugs are considered safe, they may not be appropriate for everyone. For example, Inflectra and other infliximab products have not been studied for children under 6.

Other considerations:

  • Doses of Inflectra larger than 5 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight should not be given to people with moderate-to-severe heart failure.
  • If you've ever had a hepatitis B infection, Inflectra may put you at risk for reactivation. Your doctor should test you for hepatitis B before you start taking this drug and monitor you closely if you test positive.
  • Inflectra may exacerbate demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
  • Children being prescribed Inflectra should be brought up-to-date on their vaccinations before starting the drug.
  • Don't take Inflectra if you're allergic to infliximab, murine (rodent) proteins, or any of its inactive ingredients.

Biologics are produced using living organisms or parts of living organisms. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says biosimilar drugs must have "no clinically meaningful differences" from the original biologic. However, inactive ingredients may be different.

Inflectra's inactive ingredients include:

  • Sucrose
  • Polysorbate 80
  • Sodium dihydrogen phosphate monohydrate
  • Di-Sodium hydrogen phosphate dihydrate

Other Biosimilars for Systemic Inflammation

Several biosimilars are on the market for treating diseases that involve systemic inflammation.

Biologic Biosimilar Drug
Humira Amgevita, Imraldi, Halimatoz, Hymroz, Hefiya, Julio, Idacio, Kromeya Adalimumab
Enbrel Erelzi, Benepali Etanercept
MebThera Blitzima, Ritemvia, Rituzena Rixathon, Riximyo, Truxima Rituximab

Humira, Enbrel, and their biosimilars are classified as TNF blockers. MabThera and its biosimilars alter the immune system's level of B-cells, which (like TNF) are a part of your body's inflammatory response.

Dosage and Schedule

You'll go to a doctor's office, hospital, or infusion center to be given intravenous (IV) infusions of Inflectra. The dosage and infusion schedule will depend on your diagnosis. Expect the infusion to take at least two hours.

TYPICAL INFLECTRA INFUSION SCHEDULE
Disease/Condition Infusion Dose (mg/kg body weight) Second Dose Third Dose Maintenance
Ankylosing spondylitis 5 mg/kg At two weeks At six weeks Every six weeks thereafter
Crohn's Disease, plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ulcerative colitis 5 mg/kg At two weeks At six weeks Every eight weeks thereafter
Rheumatoid arthritis* 3 mg/kg At two weeks At six weeks

Every eight weeks thereafter

A kilogram is about 2.2 pounds. All listed dosages are according to the drug manufacturer.

*If treatment results for rheumatoid arthritis aren't adequate at this dosage, your doctor may adjust it up to 10mg/kg or may shorten the time between infusions. However, these adjustments may increase your risk of side effects.

Modifications

If you have a mild-to-moderate reaction during an infusion, the process may be slowed down or suspended for a while. Depending on the nature of your reaction, you may be treated with acetaminophen, antihistamines, and/or corticosteroids. If you then continue to have a reaction, your infusion will be discontinued.

If you have an allergic reaction, you'll need to go off of Inflectra right away. Facilities that do infusions should have the appropriate staffing and medication to deal with a severe allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis.

Side Effects

Unwanted side effects are possible with any medication. If you have side effects that are severe or don't diminish over time, let your doctor know about it.

Common

The most common adverse reactions, based on clinical trials of infliximab products, include:

  • Infections (upper respiratory, sinusitis, and pharyngitis)
  • Infusion-related reactions (shortness of breath, flushing, headache, rash)
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain

Severe

Rare but serious reactions that can occur during the infusion include:

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Convulsions
  • Erythematous rash
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)

The infusion facility should be equipped to deal with these reactions.

If you have a delayed reaction to Inflectra after you've left the facility, get medical help right away.

Warnings and Interactions

Certain warnings and precautions have been established to ensure the safe use of Inflectra. Those warnings include:

  • Risk of developing serious infections: Inflectra should not be administered during an active infection. Also, if an infection develops while using Inflectra, it should be monitored carefully and if it becomes serious, Inflectra should be stopped. Opportunistic infections (infections that occur more severely or frequently in those with weakened immune systems) have been reported in patients treated with TNF blockers. Also, reactivation of tuberculosis or new tuberculosis infections have occurred with the use of infliximab products.
  • Invasive fungal infections: If a patient develops a systemic illness while using Inflectra, anti-fungal therapy should be considered for those living in regions where fungal conditions are endemic.
  • Malignancies: The incidence of malignancies, including lymphoma, was found to be greater in patients treated with TNF blockers than in controls. The risk/benefit of using Inflectra should be assessed, especially in patients with certain factors in their medical history. 
  • Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation: Patients should be tested for Hepatitis B virus prior to starting Inflectra. Carriers of HBV should be monitored during and for several months after using Inflectra. If reactivation of HBV occurs, Inflectra should be discontinued and anti-viral treatment initiated.
  • Hepatotoxicity: Rare severe hepatic reactions can occur. Some may be potentially fatal or require liver transplantation. With the development of jaundice or significantly elevated liver enzymes, Inflectra should be stopped.
  • Heart failure: New onset heart failure or worsening symptoms of existing heart failure may occur with use of Inflectra.
  • Cytopenias: There may be a reduction in the number of blood cells with use of Inflectra. Patients should seek medical attention if symptoms develop.
  • Hypersensitivity: Serious infusion reactions may develop, including anaphylaxis or serum sickness-like reactions.
  • Demyelinating disease: New onset or worsening of existing demyelinating disease can occur with use of Inflectra.
  • Lupus-like syndrome: A syndrome associated with lupus-like symptoms can develop with use of Inflectra. The drug should be stopped if the syndrome develops.
  • Live vaccines or therapeutic infectious agents: Neither should be given with Inflectra. Children should be up to date on all vaccines prior to starting Inflectra. If an infant was exposed in utero to Inflectra or infliximab, there should be at least a 6 month waiting period after birth before any live vaccine is given.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Little is known about how taking Inflectra while pregnant or breastfeeding may affect your baby.

However, infliximab products have been found to cross the placenta. In babies whose mother took the drug, it's been found in the blood up to 6 months later. This could increase your child's risk of serious and even fatal infections.

Because of this increased risk, you're advised to wait at least 6 months before giving your baby live vaccines such as BCG and rotavirus. Your pediatrician should be able to guide you as to what vaccines are and aren't safe for your child.

Breastfeeding is not recommended for women taking Inflectra.

Black Box Warnings

Inflectra carries black box warnings, the FDA's most serious warning, with regard to:

  • Increased risk of serious infection
  • Increased risk of lymphoma
  • Importance of testing for latent tuberculosis prior to starting the drug

Drug Interactions

Certain drugs don't interact well when they're combined. While you're taking Inflectra, you should avoid:

Tapering Off

Quitting Inflectra shouldn't cause withdrawal symptoms; tapering is done to minimize the return of symptoms.

If you want to go off of Inflectra for any reason, be sure to talk to your doctor about it. They may recommend tapering off by increasing the time between infusions and/or lowering your dosage.

The decision to go off your medication is a serious one that should be made only after careful evaluation by you and your doctor.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Biosimilar and interchangable products. Updated October 23, 2017.

  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration: AccessData. Rituxan (rituximab) label. Updated February 2010.

Additional Reading