Prednisone vs Remicade

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For patients with chronic inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn's disease, certain drugs that help in reducing inflammation and managing symptoms can be highly beneficial. Prednisone and Remicade are two such medications often prescribed for these types of ailments. These drugs work differently to control the immune system response that triggers inflammation.

Prednisone is a corticosteroid which reduces swelling and redness by suppressing the body's immune system. It affects multiple processes within the body but its primary function is to decrease inflammation.

On the other hand, Remicade (infliximab) belongs to a class of drugs known as TNF alpha inhibitors or biologics. It works by blocking a specific protein in your body (tumor necrosis factor-alpha), which plays a crucial role in triggering inflammation and related symptoms. Hence while both drugs serve similar purposes, their method of action differs significantly.

What is Prednisone?

Prednisone, a corticosteroid medication, was introduced in the mid-1950s and has been widely used to decrease inflammation and alter the immune system's response. Prednisone works by reducing inflammation throughout the body, meaning it can be used for a large range of conditions - from asthma to rheumatoid arthritis. It achieves this by suppressing or mimicking your body’s natural hormone cortisol that is produced in the adrenal glands.

On the other hand, Infliximab (the generic name for Remicade) is part of another class of medications known as TNF blockers. It was first approved by FDA in 1998. Unlike Prednisone which generally suppresses your immune system, Remicade specifically targets tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), a substance that causes inflammation in the body. This allows it to treat autoimmune diseases like Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis with greater precision but potentially fewer side effects than broad-immune-suppressing drugs like Prednisone.

While both drugs are effective at managing inflammatory conditions, they have different mechanisms of action - Prednisone broadly reduces inflammation while Remicade specifically targets inflammatory proteins.

What conditions is Prednisone approved to treat?

Prednisone and Remicade are approved for the treatment of different inflammatory disorders:

How does Prednisone help with these illnesses?

Prednisone is a corticosteroid that works by decreasing the body's immune system response to reduce symptoms such as inflammation and allergic-type reactions. It does this by inhibiting the pathways that trigger the inflammatory process, thus reducing swelling, redness, and pain. On the other hand, Remicade (infliximab) is an immunosuppressive drug that helps manage autoimmune diseases by blocking tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), a substance in our bodies involved in systemic inflammation. TNFα plays a central role in initiating and maintaining pathological inflammation which can damage organs if left unchecked. By disabling TNFα, Remicade reduces excessive inflammatory responses aiding patients with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn’s disease to control their symptoms better.

What is Remicade?

Remicade is a brand name for infliximab, which is a tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) inhibitor. This means it works by blocking the action of TNFα, a substance in the body that causes inflammation. Infliximab was first approved by the FDA in 1998 and has been shown to be beneficial in reducing signs and symptoms, inducing major clinical response, inhibiting the progression of structural damage, and improving physical function in patients with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis.

Compared to prednisone – which reduces inflammation by suppressing immunity across all cells – Remicade acts more specifically on TNFα alone. As such, its side-effect profile may be different from that of general immunosuppressants like prednisone: while both can increase risk of infections due to their immunosuppressive actions, infliximab does not typically cause fluid retention or weight gain often seen with corticosteroids like prednisone. The specific inhibition on TNFα could also make Remicade particularly effective for certain conditions characterized by overproduction of this inflammatory molecule.

What conditions is Remicade approved to treat?

Remicade has been approved by the FDA for several uses, including:

These are all conditions marked by chronic inflammation. It works to reduce this inflammation and can help manage symptoms, slow disease progression, and improve quality of life in individuals with these disorders.

How does Remicade help with these illnesses?

Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) is a cytokine that plays a crucial role in the body's immune response, including inflammation. It's implicated in several autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. Remicade works by neutralizing the biological activity of TNF-α by binding with high affinity to this cytokine, thus reducing inflammatory responses. Its action on limiting immune cell migration and decreasing production of other pro-inflammatory cytokines also contribute to its efficacy as an immunosuppressant drug. Unlike prednisone, which acts more generally to decrease inflammation and suppress the immune system across many pathways, Remicade specifically targets TNF-α. Hence it might be chosen when a patient doesn't respond well to general corticosteroids such as prednisone or needs medication targeted at specific inflammatory pathways.

How effective are both Prednisone and Remicade?

Both prednisone and infliximab (Remicade) have been proven effective in treating patients with a variety of inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease. They were initially approved by the FDA several years apart, with prednisone being available since the 1950s and Remicade gaining approval in 1998. The two drugs work via different mechanisms: Prednisone is a corticosteroid that works broadly to reduce inflammation throughout the body, while Remicade specifically targets tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), a pro-inflammatory cytokine.

Several studies have directly compared their effectiveness; one study from 2001 found similar efficacy between prednisone and Remicade for reducing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis over a period of weeks but noted that patients taking Remicade had fewer side effects.

A systematic review from 2016 demonstrated that both agents effectively manage symptoms of chronic inflammatory diseases starting from early phases of treatment. This study also emphasized that because corticosteroids like prednisone can cause significant long-term side effects when used at high doses or for extended periods, they are often best utilized as short-term treatments until other slower-acting but safer medications begin to take effect.

In contrast, infliximab has been shown to be an essential addition to therapy regimens for severe cases due to its potent anti-inflammatory action on TNF-alpha, which plays an essential role in many autoimmune disorders' pathogenesis. However, it must be administered intravenously under medical supervision due to potential allergic reactions or infections associated with its use.

Overall both options can be effective depending on patient-specific factors including disease severity, comorbidities and possible contraindications.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Prednisone typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Prednisone range from 5–60 mg/day, depending on the condition being treated. For many inflammatory diseases, a starting dose of 10-20 mg/day is often effective. Children and adolescents' dosage is dependent on body weight and disease severity. Dosage can be increased or decreased over time based on response to treatment and side effects. The maximum dosage varies greatly depending on the specific situation and should always be determined by a healthcare professional.

On the other hand, Remicade (infliximab) is administered intravenously in a clinical setting with doses typically ranging from 3-10 mg/kg every 4-8 weeks after an initial induction regimen. The dose, frequency, and duration are determined based upon patient's body weight, medical condition being treated, response to therapy as well as tolerance to medication.

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At what dose is Remicade typically prescribed?

Remicade treatment is typically initiated with a dosage of 5 mg/kg. This dose can then be increased, if necessary, to manage the symptoms of your specific condition. The doses are usually administered as an infusion at weeks 0, 2 and 6 initially. Afterward, maintenance infusions are given every eight weeks for chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn's disease. If there is no response to treatment after a few cycles or if the patient has severe active Crohn's disease or fistulizing Crohn's disease, the dosing may be adjusted by either shortening the dosing interval to every six weeks or increasing each individual dose up to a maximum of 10 mg/kg.

What are the most common side effects for Prednisone?

Common side effects of Prednisone include:

  • Nervousness, anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Headache, nausea
  • Muscle weakness and fatigue (asthenia)
  • Sweating excessively (hyperhidrosis)
  • Thin skin, bruising easily -Slow wound healing

While Remicade can potentially cause:

-Anxiety -Tremor -Nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea
-Rash/itching/skin redness/hives
-Fever/chills/sweats - flu-like syndrome
-Infections including sinusitis
-Difficulty breathing
-Chest pain
-Decreased blood pressure

Remember that not everyone experiences these side effects from either medication. It is crucial to consult a healthcare provider before starting or changing medications.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Prednisone?

While Prednisone and Remicade are both used to treat inflammatory conditions, they have different side effect profiles. For Prednisone, the following serious effects can occur:

  • Allergic reactions such as rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness or trouble breathing
  • Mood swings or mental health issues like depression or suicidal thoughts
  • Vision problems including eye pain or changes in vision
  • Rapid heartbeat, irregular heart rhythms
  • Fluid retention causing swelling in your lower legs
  • Low potassium levels leading to muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat
  • High blood sugar which can cause increased thirst/urination

On the other hand, Remicade may lead to:

  • Infusion reactions like difficulty breathing and skin rashes during administration of medication
  • Signs of new infection: fever; cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat; painful and frequent urination; cough with yellow/green mucus. Severe liver disease - nausea that doesn't stop; stomach pain on upper right side; dark urine; jaundice (yellowing of eyes/skin) In rare cases neurological disorders:
    • numbness or weakness in arms and legs;
    • vision disturbances;
    • balance difficulties;

If you experience any of these symptoms while taking either drug immediately contact a healthcare provider.

What are the most common side effects for Remicade?

Remicade, also known as Infliximab, is another medication that can be used to treat certain autoimmune conditions. Some of the potential side effects associated with Remicade include:

  • Cough or sore throat
  • Redness, itching or swelling at injection site
  • Stomach pain and loss of appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns (insomnia)
  • Fever and chills
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Headache and dizziness
  • Muscle or joint pain.

It's important to note that these side effects could occur during treatment or even weeks after receiving a dose of Remicade. Always consult your healthcare provider if you experience any unusual symptoms while on this medication.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Remicade?

Remicade, while being a potent medication for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn's disease, can occasionally lead to severe side effects. Patients should be on the lookout for:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Fever, sore throat (which may be signs of a new infection)
  • Chest pain and shortness of breath with mild exertion
  • Pale skin and easy bruising or bleeding
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Numbness or weakness especially on one side of the body
  • Severe headache and vision problems
  • Swelling in your ankles or feet

Any unusual changes should prompt immediate medical attention. Although Remicade is beneficial for many patients, it does carry potential risks that need to be monitored closely by healthcare professionals.

Contraindications for Prednisone and Remicade?

Both Prednisone and Remicade, along with many other immunosuppressant medications, may increase your susceptibility to infections. If you notice symptoms of an infection such as fever, cough or body aches while on these medications, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Prednisone nor Remicade should be taken if you are currently taking or have recently been treated with live vaccines. Always tell your physician which vaccinations you've had; the immune response to these could be impaired by immunosuppressive drugs like Prednisone and Remicade.

In addition, both medications can trigger allergic reactions in some people. This can result in symptoms like rash, itching/swelling (particularly of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness or trouble breathing. These side effects require urgent medical care.

Furthermore, prolonged use of prednisone can lead to bone loss (osteoporosis), especially if you smoke, do not exercise regularly, have poor nutrition habits or consume alcohol frequently. On the other hand, remicade is known for its serious potential heart problems so inform your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms such as chest pain/discomfort/pressure/tightness/pain spreading to jaw/left arm/shoulder/sudden confusion/dizziness/fainting/unexplained weight gain/swelling ankles/feet/hand/trouble breathing/unusual tiredness.

Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new medication regimen for proper guidance based on individual health status and requirements.

How much do Prednisone and Remicade cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price of 60 tablets of Prednisone (10 mg) averages around $15, which works out to about $0.25/day, depending on your dose.
  • The price for one vial (100mg) of Remicade can be as high as $1300, and dosing depends heavily on body weight and disease state but could range from a single vial every 8 weeks to multiple vials more frequently. This means costs can vary widely but may average around $40–$80 per day.

Thus, if you are in the higher dosage range for prednisone (i.e., over 30 mg/day), then brand-name Remicade is likely far more expensive on a per-day treatment basis due to its personalized dosing scheme. Please note that cost should not be a primary consideration in determining which drug is right for you.

For generic versions:

  • Prednisone is available generically and remains very affordable with prices often under ten cents per tablet.
  • There is currently no biosimilar approved for Remicade (infliximab) in the US so it remains quite expensive compared to most other medications.

Popularity of Prednisone and Remicade

Prednisone, available in generic form and under various brand names, was estimated to have been prescribed to about 21.9 million people in the US in 2020. Prednisone accounted for just over 27% of corticosteroid prescriptions in the US. This drug is primarily used as an anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressant medication and has remained one of the most prevalent drugs used for these purposes over the past several years, with a slight increase observed since 2013.

Infliximab, marketed under the brand name Remicade among others, had a total prescription volume much smaller than prednisone due to its more specific indications - it's mainly used for treating autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease when other treatments fail or are not suitable. Although exact numbers are difficult to obtain because it's administered intravenously rather than by prescription at pharmacies, infliximab has seen increased utilization rates since its introduction due to growing recognition of its benefits in managing otherwise refractory cases of certain inflammatory conditions. Its use did also steadily grow from its market release until recent years when biosimilar alternatives became available.


Both Prednisone and Remicade (infliximab) have proven track records in managing a variety of inflammatory conditions. They work via different mechanisms, with prednisone being a corticosteroid that reduces inflammation by suppressing the immune response, while Remicade is a monoclonal antibody that specifically targets and inhibits TNF-alpha, an inflammatory substance in the body.

Prednisone is often used as first-line therapy due to its quick onset of action and cost-effectiveness. On the other hand, infliximab may be considered for patients who do not respond well to corticosteroids or need long-term management since its effects are more targeted and it has been shown to have fewer side effects over time.

Both medications come under prescription-only medication category; however, generic versions exist for prednisone leading to significant cost savings especially if out-of-pocket costs are incurred. The use of both drugs requires careful monitoring by healthcare professionals due to potential side effects.

While both drugs generally demonstrate good tolerability profiles, they each pose distinct potential side effects: for instance, prednisone can lead to weight gain and mood changes among others while infliximab might increase susceptibility towards infections because of immunosuppression. Patients should regularly consult healthcare providers when on these medicines if any adverse symptoms occur.