Dealing with Surgery After Remicade Infusions

Dealing with Surgery After Remicade Infusions
In my last column, I wrote about how I had been experiencing side effects while receiving my Remicade (infliximab) infusion. This was due to the buildup of antibodies to the medication while off it for a prolonged period. There was a plan to receive IV Benadryl before my infusion to prevent these effects. I’m happy to report that it worked. The infusion went smoothly, and I experienced no side effects. The night before my infusion I realized that I had forgotten to contact my doctor about an upcoming surgery. You are supposed to be off Remicade for at least four weeks prior to and four weeks following any surgery. This is because Remicade is a biologic medication and it can delay healing from surgery and increase the risk of postoperative infection. I was scheduled for eye muscle surgery on June 22. I have exotropia, meaning my eyes face outward giving me double vision. Wearing glasses usually corrects the double vision, but my eyes had reached a point where glasses were no longer enough, and surgery was my only option. I called my GI doctor first thing in the morning to get permission to receive the infusion. This was No. 3 of the loading doses, which are very important to receive on time, otherwise, you may need to start the loading doses all over again. He told me that even though the surgery was less than four weeks away, it was OK because eye muscle surgery is not as invasive as orthopedic or gallbladder surgeries. So I was good to receive the Remicade. After my infusion, I saw my orthopedic doctor, where I faced a new obstacle. I found out that I would need surgery in less than one week. My surgeon wanted to do a left shoulder arthroscopy to check whether I had an infection in the tissues or bone surrounding the prosthetic from my shoulder replac
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