Friday, February 27, 2009 massagediva, Community Member, asks

Q: Orencia vs Remicade?

Orencia versus Remicade? I need to decide which one to try first quickly!  I'm allergic to Humira (after 3 doses) and MTX +Arava isn't strong enough.  My hands swelled twice their size this week and it was scary.  My rheumy got the swelling down, but wants me to decide between these two stronger drugs by Monday.  I really can't tell the difference despite the marketing DVDs I was given.  Help!

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Answers (7)
Lene Andersen, Health Guide
3/ 2/09 1:03pm

Both drugs are Biologics and both can work well - from what I've heard from people who on them, some people have problems, yet many more are doing just fine. If you can't tell a difference, I'd suggest discussing it with your doctor and asking for a recommendation. As Robin Natalie mentioned, one may work faster than another, one may be cheaper than another and one may be more convenient than the other (every other month versus monthly infusion). You can do some thinking about which would fit in better in your lifestyle, how quickly you want it to start working, etc., then discuss your thoughts with your doctor and ask for suggestions.


Good luck! Please send us know how it goes.


robin, Community Member
2/28/09 2:43pm

Isn't the only difference that with remicade you need an infusion every two months and with orencia once every month? Honestly, they both have the scary side effects and they both poison your body. It's really a toss up. I'm not a scientist though, so I don't know the details of what goes on with these drugs. Choose the cheaper one probably. If it doesn't work, then switch to the other one. Orencia takes a long time to start working though. I took it for 6 months and it never started working for me. I had to stop it because of bronchitis.

Sorry to sound pessimistic, but that's how I feel about arthritis drugs these days.

Good luck with whichever you choose!

Jola, Community Member
9/18/09 3:24pm

Orencia and Remicade use two different mechanisms to reduce inflamation.  Remicade inhibits the TNF factor.  Orencia is different from all of the others.  It "works in a fundamentally different way than any other rheumatoid arthritis treatment. Orencia works early in the RA inflammatory process at the T-cell level and can reduce the activation of T cells, which reduces the activation of other cells in the RA inflammatory process."


So in addition to the differences in cost and dosing, some people may respond to TNF blockers better and some may respond to Orencia better.


I've been on MTX for a little over 2 years and Remicade was added 6 months ago.  I haven't yet gotten enough relief, so we're thinking of trying Orencia instead of the Remicade.

obxgirl, Community Member
3/ 5/09 2:51am

I would go with the remicade! It works wonders for me. Been on it for about 6 months and I can tell you I really can tell a difference. I feel so much better. 

lawnerd, Community Member
5/18/09 3:18pm

I am trying Orencia for the first time, I am on it for three weeks now.  No serious side ffects, no tiredness.  I was on Enbrel for almost five years, it was great I was running and exercise I felt like normal teenager.  then at 21 I was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma. My Drs thought it migh tbe conneced to the medicine.  Since then i have tried ever med there is for Arthritis.  I have had RA since I was 2, yes two.  I hope Orencia works because I am tired of not being able to lead a normal life.  Since I am one of the rare individuals that has had bad reaction  to medicines, I always recommend before tharting anything new go through a cancer screeening, know if you are predisposed to anything because of genetics and family history.  Also know that people with RA have a higher cancer occerence anway, so that is something to consider.  Although this seems scary, it still has not stopped me from trying absolutely anything within reason to help the pain, swelling and limited movement.  Don't be discouraged and be brave...don't give up.

jfustok, Community Member
10/ 7/09 4:30pm

What were your symptoms before you were diagnosed with Lymphoma?  How are you now?  I was an Enbrel girl for years and loved it too, and then it stopped working its magic.  I have been trying Remicade for the past 7 mos and i am losing weight and feel terrible-weakness-pain-fatigue.  I am stopping it and either going back on Enbrel or trying Orencia.  



lawnerd, Community Member
10/ 7/09 9:26pm

If you have any concerns of course talk to your Doctor.  My syptoms were strange.  My best friend came down with Mono.  I have swollen lympnodes and just thought it was that I caught Mono too.  I had very itchy legs and I lost some weight, but also I had been trying to loose weight so it was hard to tell why the change.  The itchy legs were really serious I had scratched my legs raw in my sleep.


The weakness could be just the RA acting up, or any number of things.  Ask your doctor if he/she recommends a multi-vitamin. Also see if a simple blood test can show some light to the prblem like a thyroid problem, or iron defiency. 


today I am 26, RA still gives me problems but I am 5 years cancer free and considered cured.  I am engaged and looking forward to long happy life.  I walk my dog and even work out to keep my muscle mass up.  Strong muscles and les weight take the pressure off joints so that helps too.  Thanks for asking and I hope you feel well soon. You have a healing thoughts.

portlandRa, Community Member
2/14/11 6:11pm

Your present predicament is where I was two and a half years ago.  I started Orencia two and a half years ago and it has done wonders for me.  I have no side effrects from Orencia and I feel wonderful.  From what I understand, Orencia does not work for everyone - but I can definitely attest that for some people (like me), Orencia is a wonder drug.  It is a bit of a pain going in for an infusion every four weeks; however, compared to being in pain, going in for an infusion is a piece of cake.  From my experience, I suggest that you try Orencia to see if it works for you.

C. Montgomery, Community Member
8/ 7/11 8:49pm

I have been taking Orenica for 4 months and do not see that it is working. Do you think I should ask my doctor to switch to remicaid or give it a little longer? How long did it take for you to see results?

Ohio granny, Community Member
5/15/12 11:29am

difference in Remicade and Orencia

amanda122446, Community Member
11/29/12 10:19pm

Remicade is a 3-5 hour IV infusion done in the hospital. That one was the only medication that worked for me, unfortunatly i was highly allergic to it and had to stop. i just started ocencia and not sure how much i like it. im actually afraid im going to have a bad reaction. i would start Remicade since it is done in the hospital and if you are allergic they will catch it and treat it before it does damage. my orencia is done by shot, so im worried if i react to it i wont get help in time.

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By massagediva, Community Member— Last Modified: 11/29/12, First Published: 02/27/09