How Much Does a Remicade Infusion Cost?
Remicade infusion refers to the process of administering the drug remicade through an IV. Many inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis are characterized by increased levels of TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor). This is a protein that is produced during inflammatory response is TNF alpha. This protein is known to begin and perpetuate inflammation. For the treatment of these types of inflammatory arthritis, it is best to use drugs that inhibit TNF. Remicade is one of the most popular drugs that is used to treat this, especially in those suffering from Crohn’s disease.
How much is it?
- For one patient, the cost for a remicade infusion can be as much as $20,000 per year. This is because many insurance plans do not cover the treatment entirely. These costs are dependent on how many vials of remicade a patient requires, which is in turn, is dependent on the patient’s weight and dosage recommended. On average, most patients receive four to six vials of remicade per infusion. The time taken averages between one and two hours . Therefore, the estimated bill per infusion is between $5,000 to $12,500 without insurance. A vial is known to cost about $4,000. Infusion costs can be an additional $500 or more.
- For example, a user on the forum HealingWell.com claimed that he received a bill for almost $12,000. Additional users claimed that their infusion sessions ran around $7,000 to $8,000.
- If you have a health insurance policy, be sure to explore your options. Since all policies are different, your deductibles and co-pays will vary.
- According to emedicinehealth.com, a single dose of Remicade can cost $1,300 to $2,500.
What is going to be included?
- Remicade is a monoclonal chimeric antibody used as treatment against TNF alpha. Remicade is a part-human, part-mouse antibody. It is also known as Infliximab. Remicade is approved for use alone or in combination with methotrexate for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in situations ranging from slight to severe. It is also approved for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
- Remicade is administered intravenously through an IV rather than injection. For the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, a single dose of 3mg/kg is recommended. This first dose is to be followed by an additional 3mg/kg doses two to six weeks later. A patient’s response determines what the regular dosage would be. It could take up to three hours to perform the procedure. The procedure is often done in an outpatient setting.
- During the procedure, the mixture will be blended with sterile water. The solution will be injected into a large bag of sterile water. Applying a tourniquet over the arm, the IV tubing is attached to the catheter inside of the vein. Once attached, the infusion will drip slowly.
- A few side effects may be experienced during or shortly after administration. These include but are not limited to chest pain, shortness of breath, rashes, itching, fever, nausea, vomiting, cough, etc. Remicade should be discontinued if serious reactions occur.
- On average, the treatment can last up to 12 weeks.
What are the extra costs?
- For some patients, there might be additional costs of an infusion site. This is especially for patients who require other special biologic treatments.
- If additional medications are prescribed after the infusion, these costs should be factored in as well.
- After the remicade infusion has been completed, the doctor will want to perform a few follow up tests to see whether or not the treatment improved the condition. These tests will be billed separately as will the doctors fees.
- The fees above should include all facility and doctor fees. However, every hospital will be different with its billing practices.
Tips to know:
- Tell your doctor immediately if you develop symptoms such as fever, night sweats, unusual tiredness, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, or swollen lymph nodes.
- Remicade can significantly lower your immune system. When receiving this treatment, make sure that you wash your hands often and take as many precautions as possible. Make sure you inform all doctors or dentists of your treatment using remicade.
- Women who are pregnant should only use this drug as a last resort. Children should make sure to be up to date on all vaccinations before starting treatment.
How can I save money?
- Many medical facilities have patient advocates that can assist in finding alternative payment options. They could also help reveal insurance options that you qualify for but are not taking advantage of. Talking to the right person could be key in finding a cheaper solution.
- Find out the available financial assistance programs, then get qualified.
- It could also help to go directly to the manufacturer. Many manufacturers have access services managers that can guide you through the process of qualifying for an affordability program. The prescribing doctor can help provide you with the contact number of a representative from the pharmaceutical company.