AS is more common in men than in women. Unlike other rheumatoid diseases, symptoms of AS can appear as early as childhood, although onset usually occurs between the ages of 17 and 35. It's important to note that the course of AS varies from person to person. There are risk factors for AS, such as having a family member with AS.
AS can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms are similar to other diseases. Only a rheumatologist can decide if your symptoms are caused by AS. Rheumatologists are specialists who treat arthritic conditions and other joint diseases. If you're diagnosed with AS, your rheumatologist may prescribe REMICADE® as part of your treatment plan.
The symptoms of AS vary from person to person. During your examination, your doctor will look for spinal symptoms and additional symptoms (sometimes called peripheral symptoms). Spinal symptoms affect your spine, while the additional symptoms of AS may occur in your joints or internal organs. Talk to your doctor if you experience any of the following:
When AS affects the spine, it may lead to:
People with AS may also experience the following symptoms:
Since the symptoms you may experience in the early stages of AS can resemble those of other conditions, your rheumatologist may draw on information from many different sources, including:
In confirming your AS diagnosis, your doctor may also look for the following symptoms:
Only your doctor can recommend a course of treatment after checking your health condition. REMICADE® (infliximab) can cause serious side effects such as lowering your ability to fight infections. Some patients, especially those 65 years and older, have had serious infections caused by viruses, fungi or bacteria that have spread throughout the body, including tuberculosis (TB) and histoplasmosis. Some of these infections have been fatal. Your doctor should monitor you closely for signs and symptoms of TB during treatment with REMICADE®.
Unusual cancers have been reported in children and teenage patients taking TNF-blocker medicines. Hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma, a rare form of fatal lymphoma, has occurred mostly in teenage or young adult males with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis who were taking REMICADE® and azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine. For children and adults taking TNF blockers, including REMICADE®, the chances of getting lymphoma or other cancers may increase.
You should discuss any concerns about your health and medical care with your doctor.
What should I tell my doctor before I take REMICADE®?
You should let your doctor know if you have or ever had any of the following:
Also tell your doctor if you:
What should I watch for and talk to my doctor about before or while taking REMICADE®?
The following serious (sometimes fatal) side effects have been reported in people taking REMICADE®.
You should tell your doctor right away if you have any of the signs listed below:
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.
Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.