Infliximab was launched by Janssen over 20 years ago under the name Remicade. It continues to be a biologic therapy given by infusion (IV) for many autoimmune conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis, Crohn’s, and ulcerative colitis. In the last couple of years, a few biosimilars of infliximab have been approved by Health Canada (Inflectra, Renflexis, and Avsola). Remsima is a biosimilar of infliximab that was launched in the United States and Europe a few years ago, and is produced by Celltrion.
In May of this year, Celltrion launched Remsima in Canada with a newly approved dosing regimen for rheumatoid arthritis. The first 2 doses are given by infusion at week 0 and week 2, followed by self-administered injections using an auto-injector pen or syringe, that begin at week 6 and continue every 2 weeks. This is an exciting option for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Remsima is now listed on many private insurance plans but still is not listed as a benefit under government-based plans.
Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health. Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.