Header Image for Rituxan vs Remicade

Rituxan vs Remicade

Listen to the article instead of reading through it.




Comparative Analysis

Economic Considerations

Market Analysis



For patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, certain biologic drugs can help manage the symptoms by targeting specific components of the immune system. Rituxan and Remicade are two such medications used for the treatment of these conditions. Each medication works differently but both aim to reduce inflammation and slow disease progression.

Rituxan is a monoclonal antibody that targets CD20, a protein found on B cells which play a role in inflammation and autoimmunity. It helps control disease activity by depleting these B cells from the body.

Remicade, on the other hand, binds to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), an inflammatory substance produced by your body’s immune system. By inhibiting TNFα, Remicade reduces inflammation associated with autoimmune disorders.

Rituxan vs Remicade Side By Side

Brand NameRituxanRemicade
ContraindicationsShould not be taken if using or have recently used any live vaccines. Increased risk of severe infections.Should not be taken if using or have recently used any live vaccines. Increased risk of severe infections.
Cost$10,000-$16,000 per infusion$2500-$3000 per infusion
Generic NameRituximabInfliximab
Most Serious Side EffectSevere infusion reactions, cardiovascular events, neurological problems such as PML, infectionsSerious infections, lymphoma and other malignancies, hepatitis B reactivation, heart failure, lupus-like syndrome
Severe Drug InteractionsLive vaccinesLive vaccines
Typical DoseFor non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: 375 mg/m² IV once weekly for four weeks. For rheumatoid arthritis: two infusions of 1000 mg each, separated by a two-week interval.Initial dose, followed by additional doses at 2 and 6 weeks after the first infusion, then every 8 weeks. Dosage varies, commonly 3-10 mg/kg.

What is Rituxan?

Rituximab (the generic name for Rituxan) is a monoclonal antibody that targets and destroys B cells, which play an essential role in the immune system. It was first approved by the FDA in 1997 and is used to treat certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphomas, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions characterized by abnormal or excessive B cell activity. The drug works by binding to a protein found on the surface of these cells, effectively "tagging" them for destruction by the body's own immune defenses. Conversely, Infliximab (Remicade), another type of monoclonal antibody, primarily targets tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), a proinflammatory cytokine involved in autoimmune disorders such as Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Both drugs have unique side effect profiles due to their different mechanisms of action - while Rituxan can cause infusion reactions and infections due to its impact on the immune system, Remicade may lead to skin reactions at the injection site or increased susceptibility to infections owing its anti-inflammatory effects.

What conditions is Rituxan approved to treat?

Rituxan is approved for the treatment of various autoimmune diseases and cancers:

  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL)
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in combination with methotrexate
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA), two rare disorders causing inflammation of blood vessels
  • Pemphigus Vulgaris, a severe auto-immune condition affecting the skin and mucous membranes.

How does Rituxan help with these illnesses?

Rituxan is utilized to manage conditions such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia by targeting a protein called CD20 found on the surface of B cells, a type of white blood cell. It works by attaching itself to these cells, which signals the immune system to destroy them. Thus, Rituxan can limit the progression of diseases that cause an overproduction or malfunction of B-cells.

Remicade, on the other hand, targets tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), a cytokine involved in systemic inflammation. This makes it effective in managing autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease which are characterized by excessive inflammation due to an overactive immune response. By blocking TNF-alpha, Remicade can reduce symptoms associated with these conditions and help patients manage their illness more effectively.

What is Remicade?

Remicade, also known as infliximab, is a monoclonal antibody that inhibits the activity of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), a substance in the body that can cause inflammation and lead to immune-system diseases. Remicade was first approved by the FDA in 1998. It's not an NSAID or corticosteroid; instead, it operates primarily by binding to TNF-alpha molecules and blocking their interaction with cell surface TNF receptors, effectively hindering their pro-inflammatory action. This makes its side-effect profile different from those of other anti-inflammatory drugs like Rituxan. For instance, Remicade does not typically cause severe skin reactions or changes in heart rhythm - common side effects associated with some other types of these medications. Its effect on TNF-alpha can be beneficial for treating several autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease especially for patients who do not respond well to “typical” anti-rheumatic drugs similar to how Wellbutrin benefits certain depression patients over Prozac.

What conditions is Remicade approved to treat?

Remicade, a TNF-alpha inhibitor, is accredited by the FDA for managing and alleviating symptoms of:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Crohn’s disease in adults and children who haven't responded well to other medicines
  • Ulcerative colitis in adults and children who haven't responded well to other medicines
  • Plaque psoriasis in adults when other treatments aren’t effective.

How does Remicade help with these illnesses?

Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine involved in systemic inflammation and autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis, Crohn's Disease, and ulcerative colitis. Remicade works by binding to TNFα molecules and blocking their interaction with cell surface TNF receptors. This mechanism of action helps decrease inflammation and slow the progression of disease. Its effect on other inflammatory mediators may also play roles in the therapeutic action of Remicade as an anti-TNF drug. Since it acts differently than B-cell depleting therapies like Rituxan (which target CD20+ B cells), it might be considered for patients who do not respond well to those treatments or may be combined with them under certain circumstances.

How effective are both Rituxan and Remicade?

Rituximab (Rituxan) and infliximab (Remicade) are both biologic drugs used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. Both medications were approved by the FDA within a few years of each other; Remicade was initially approved for Crohn's disease in 1998 while Rituxan received its first approval for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1997.

Both medications work by targeting specific proteins involved in inflammation, but they act on different targets: Rituxan targets CD20, a protein found primarily on B cells - part of the immune system that contributes to inflammatory responses. In contrast, Remicade blocks tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), a cytokine involved in systemic inflammation.

A direct comparison between these two drugs is challenging due to their distinct mechanisms of action and dissimilar target diseases. However, both have proven efficacy profiles and safety records supported by numerous clinical trials over many years.

In terms of side effects profile, both can cause serious infections because they suppress parts of your immune system. Infusion reactions are common with both drugs but tend to be less severe with Rituxan than with Remicade.

As immunosuppressant agents intended for long-term use, patient tolerance plays an important role when deciding between these two therapeutic options. Nonetheless, as always patients should consult their healthcare provider when considering medication options as individual health factors will determine which drug may offer more benefit or pose fewer risks.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

Find Top Clinical Trials

Choose from over 30,000 active clinical trials.

At what dose is Rituxan typically prescribed?

Rituxan dosages for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma typically start at 375 mg/m², administered as an intravenous infusion once weekly for four weeks. For rheumatoid arthritis patients, two infusions of 1000 mg each are given, separated by a two-week interval. Meanwhile, Remicade is usually given at a dosage of 3-10 mg/kg depending on the specific condition it's being used to treat; the dose can be adjusted based on patient response and tolerance. The infusions are typically spaced several weeks apart after an initial loading period. Both medications should only be administered under close medical supervision due to their potent effects and potential side effects.

At what dose is Remicade typically prescribed?

Remicade treatment typically begins with an initial dose, followed by additional doses at 2 and 6 weeks after the first infusion. Subsequent dosing is every 8 weeks. The dosage may vary depending on the individual’s body weight and condition being treated, but a common dose for adults with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis or Crohn's disease is typically around 3-10 mg/kg. Infusions should be administered over a period of at least two hours under medical supervision. If there's no improvement in symptoms after several doses, your doctor might decide to adjust the frequency to every four weeks or discontinue therapy.

What are the most common side effects for Rituxan?

Common side effects of Rituxan include:

  • Infusion reactions (symptoms such as fever, chills, rash, nausea, flushing of the face)
  • Infections (may include a runny nose, sore throat or sinus infection to severe conditions like pneumonia)
  • Body aches
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea and vomiting

On the other hand, Remicade could cause:

  • Serious infections that may lead to hospitalization or death
  • Lymphoma and other malignancies
  • Hepatitis B reactivation
  • Heart failure
  • Lupus-like syndrome

If any of these symptoms occur while on either drug regimen, seek immediate medical attention.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Rituxan?

When comparing Rituxan to Remicade, it's important to note that while they are both used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, their side effects can differ substantially:

  • Severe infusion reactions: These could include difficulty breathing, swelling in your face or throat, chest pain or discomfort, skin rashes and hives. If you experience any of these symptoms during or after an infusion with either drug, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Cardiovascular events: Both drugs can lead to a fast or irregular heartbeat and sudden dizziness. However, this is more commonly associated with Rituxan.
  • Neurological problems: While both drugs may cause neurological issues like confusion and feeling unsteady on your feet; severe problems such as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) have been reported mostly with Rituxan use.
  • Infections: Both medications suppress the immune system and thus increase the risk of infections including tuberculosis (TB). It's crucial to monitor for signs of infection like fever and chills while using either medication.
  • Liver damage: This is a rare but serious potential side effect for those taking Remicade especially if combined with other hepatotoxic drugs.

If you experience any unusual symptoms while receiving treatments involving these medications, contact your healthcare provider promptly.

What are the most common side effects for Remicade?

The side effects of Remicade can include:

  • Headache, dizziness
  • Stomach pain, nausea
  • Rash or itching
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Fatigue and difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Infusion reactions such as fever, chills, chest pain, low blood pressure or difficulty breathing.

It’s important to note that while these side effects are potential risks associated with Remicade treatment, not all patients will experience them. Always consult with a healthcare provider for a comprehensive understanding of possible side effects based on your specific health condition and medical history.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Remicade?

While using Remicade, some patients may experience severe side effects. Some symptoms to be aware of include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling in your face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Signs of a skin reaction - fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain or a red/purple rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling
  • Liver problems - nausea, upper stomach pain (especially right-sided), itching/tiredness/loss of appetite/dark urine/yellowing-of-the-skin-or-eyes (jaundice)
  • Lung problems: shortness of breath even with mild exertion/swelling/rapid weight gain/cough with frothy mucus/chest pain/wheezing/gasping for air during sleep
  • Nervous system disorders such as seizures; confusion or disorientation; vision changes like blurred vision or loss of color differentiation.

If any such symptoms occur while on Remicade therapy, it is imperative to stop the treatment immediately and consult your healthcare practitioner without delay.

Contraindications for Rituxan and Remicade?

Both Rituxan and Remicade, like other immunosuppressive drugs, can exacerbate symptoms in individuals with certain medical conditions. If you notice worsening symptoms or develop new health concerns while taking these medications, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Rituxan nor Remicade should be taken if you are currently using or have recently used any live vaccines. It's crucial to inform your healthcare provider about all the medications and vaccines you've been given; live vaccines will require a period of waiting before starting treatment with Rituxan and Remicade to prevent dangerous interactions.

It is also important to note that both these drugs may increase the risk of severe infections due to their immune-modulating effects. Therefore, caution must be exercised when interacting with people who have contagious diseases, such as chickenpox or measles.

How much do Rituxan and Remicade cost?

For the brand-name versions of these drugs:

  • The price for a single dose of Rituxan (375 mg/m2) averages around $10,000-$16,000 per infusion, which is usually given every six months to two years depending on your condition and response to treatment.
  • The cost of Remicade varies significantly depending on dosage and frequency. A typical 3mg/kg dose for a 70kg patient would cost approximately $2500-$3000 per infusion, with infusions typically administered every eight weeks after an initial loading period.

Thus, the costs associated with both medications can be high but vary greatly based on individual treatment plans. Please note that cost should not be a primary consideration in determining which of these drugs is right for you.

Currently there are no generic versions available in the United States for either Rituxan (rituximab) or Remicade (infliximab). Therefore patients will have to rely on insurance coverage or assistance programs from manufacturers to help offset costs.

Popularity of Rituxan and Remicade

Rituximab, commonly known under the brand name Rituxan, is a monoclonal antibody used in the treatment of certain autoimmune diseases and types of cancer. In 2020, it was estimated that about 500 thousand people in the US were prescribed Rituxan. The use of this medication has been on a steady rise since its approval by FDA in late 1997.

On the other hand, Infliximab or Remicade is another monoclonal antibody employed to treat similar conditions as Rituxan along with additional indications like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Close to one million patients were prescribed Remicade in 2020 across America alone. It holds just over 15% share among biologic prescriptions for rheumatoid arthritis and related conditions, making it one of the most commonly chosen treatments within this class of drugs since its introduction into market in mid-1998.


Both Rituxan (rituximab) and Remicade (infliximab) have a well-established role in the management of autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and inflammatory bowel diseases. They are backed by substantial clinical studies demonstrating their effectiveness over placebo treatments. Their mechanisms of action differ - Rituxan targets CD20-positive B cells while Remicade inhibits tumor necrosis factor alpha.

Rituxan is often considered for patients who have not responded to or cannot tolerate TNF inhibitors like Remicade. It could also be used alongside methotrexate, another common medication for these conditions. On the other hand, Remicade is typically one of the first biologics tried due to its long-standing record.

Both drugs are available in generic form but still carry a significant cost burden which can affect patient access if they must pay out-of-pocket. An adjustment period may be needed with both medications before full benefits become apparent.

The side effect profiles between these two drugs vary slightly due to their different modes of action but include infusion reactions and heightened risk for infections among others. Patients should closely monitor any changes in symptoms or new symptoms when starting treatment with either drug and immediately seek medical help if severe reactions occur.