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Remicade (Infliximab) - Side Effects and Adverse Reactions

 
 



ADVERSE REACTIONS

The data described herein reflect exposure to REMICADE in 4779 adult patients (1304 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, 1106 patients with Crohn's disease, 202 with ankylosing spondylitis, 293 with psoriatic arthritis, 484 with ulcerative colitis, 1373 with plaque psoriasis, and 17 patients with other conditions), including 2625 patients exposed beyond 30 weeks and 374 exposed beyond one year. (For information on adverse reactions in pediatric patients see ADVERSE REACTIONS – Adverse Reactions in Pediatric Crohn's Disease.) One of the most common reasons for discontinuation of treatment was infusion-related reactions (e.g. dyspnea, flushing, headache and rash). Adverse events have been reported in a higher proportion of rheumatoid arthritis patients receiving the 10 mg/kg dose than the 3 mg/kg dose, however, no differences were observed in the frequency of adverse events between the 5 mg/kg dose and 10 mg/kg dose in patients with Crohn's disease.

Infusion-related Reactions

Infusion reactions

An infusion reaction was defined in clinical trials as any adverse event occurring during an infusion or within 1 to 2 hours after an infusion. Approximately 20% of REMICADE-treated patients in all clinical studies experienced an infusion reaction compared to approximately 10% of placebo-treated patients. Among all REMICADE infusions, 3% were accompanied by nonspecific symptoms such as fever or chills, 1% were accompanied by cardiopulmonary reactions (primarily chest pain, hypotension, hypertension or dyspnea), and <1% were accompanied by pruritus, urticaria, or the combined symptoms of pruritus/urticaria and cardiopulmonary reactions. Serious infusion reactions occurred in <1% of patients and included anaphylaxis, convulsions, erythematous rash and hypotension. Approximately 3% of patients discontinued REMICADE because of infusion reactions, and all patients recovered with treatment and/or discontinuation of the infusion. REMICADE infusions beyond the initial infusion were not associated with a higher incidence of reactions. The infusion reaction rates remained stable in psoriasis through 1 year in psoriasis Study I. In psoriasis Study II, the rates were variable over time and somewhat higher following the final infusion than after the initial infusion. Across the 3 psoriasis studies, the percent of total infusions resulting in infusion reactions (i.e. an adverse event occurring within 1 to 2 hours) was 7% in the 3 mg/kg group, 4% in the 5 mg/kg group, and 1% in the placebo group.

Patients who became positive for antibodies to infliximab were more likely (approximately 2- to 3-fold) to have an infusion reaction than were those who were negative. Use of concomitant immunosuppressant agents appeared to reduce the frequency of antibodies to infliximab and infusion reactions (see ADVERSE REACTIONS, Immunogenicity and PRECAUTIONS, Drug Interactions).

In post-marketing experience, cases of anaphylactic-like reactions, including laryngeal/pharyngeal edema and severe bronchospasm, and seizure have been associated with REMICADE administration.

Delayed Reactions/Reactions following readministration

Plaque Psoriasis

In psoriasis studies, approximately 1% of REMICADE-treated patients experienced a possible delayed hypersensitivity reaction, generally reported as serum sickness or a combination of arthralgia and/or myalgia with fever and/or rash. These reactions generally occurred within two weeks after repeat infusion.

Crohn's disease

In a study where 37 of 41 patients with Crohn's disease were retreated with infliximab following a 2 to 4 year period without infliximab treatment, 10 patients experienced adverse events manifesting 3 to 12 days following infusion of which 6 were considered serious. Signs and symptoms included myalgia and/or arthralgia with fever and/or rash, with some patients also experiencing pruritus, facial, hand or lip edema, dysphagia, urticaria, sore throat, and headache. Patients experiencing these adverse events had not experienced infusion-related adverse events associated with their initial infliximab therapy. These adverse events occurred in 39% (9/23) of patients who had received liquid formulation which is no longer in use and 7% (1/14) of patients who received lyophilized formulation. The clinical data are not adequate to determine if occurrence of these reactions is due to differences in formulation. Patients' signs and symptoms improved substantially or resolved with treatment in all cases. There are insufficient data on the incidence of these events after drug-free intervals of 1 to 2 years. These events have been observed only infrequently in clinical studies and post-marketing surveillance with retreatment intervals up to 1 year.

Infections

In REMICADE clinical studies, treated infections were reported in 36% of REMICADE-treated patients (average of 51 weeks of follow-up) and in 25% of placebo-treated patients (average of 37 weeks of follow-up). The infections most frequently reported were respiratory tract infections (including sinusitis, pharyngitis, and bronchitis) and urinary tract infections. Among REMICADE-treated patients, serious infections included pneumonia, cellulitis, abscess, skin ulceration, sepsis, and bacterial infection. In clinical trials, 7 opportunistic infections were reported; 2 cases each of coccidioidomycosis (1 case was fatal) and histoplasmosis (1 case was fatal), and 1 case each of pneumocystosis, nocardiosis and cytomegalovirus. Tuberculosis was reported in 14 patients, 4 of whom died due to miliary tuberculosis. Other cases of tuberculosis, including disseminated tuberculosis, also have been reported post-marketing. Most of these cases of tuberculosis occurred within the first 2 months after initiation of therapy with REMICADE and may reflect recrudescence of latent disease (see WARNINGS, RISK OF INFECTIONS). In the 1 year placebo-controlled studies RA I and RA II, 5.3% of patients receiving REMICADE every 8 weeks with MTX developed serious infections as compared to 3.4% of placebo patients receiving MTX. Of 924 patients receiving REMICADE, 1.7% developed pneumonia and 0.4% developed TB, when compared to 0.3% and 0.0% in the placebo arm respectively. In a shorter (22-week) placebo-controlled study of 1082 RA patients randomized to receive placebo, 3 mg/kg or 10 mg/kg REMICADE infusions at 0, 2, and 6 weeks, followed by every 8 weeks with MTX, serious infections were more frequent in the 10 mg/kg REMICADE group (5.3%) than the 3 mg/kg or placebo groups (1.7% in both). During the 54 weeks Crohn's II Study, 15% of patients with fistulizing Crohn's disease developed a new fistula-related abscess.

In REMICADE clinical studies in patients with ulcerative colitis, infections treated with antimicrobials were reported in 27% of REMICADE-treated patients (average of 41 weeks of follow-up) and in 18% of placebo-treated patients (average 32 weeks of follow-up). The types of infections, including serious infections, reported in patients with ulcerative colitis were similar to those reported in other clinical studies.

In post-marketing experience in the various indications, infections have been observed with various pathogens including viral, bacterial, fungal, and protozoal organisms. Infections have been noted in all organ systems and have been reported in patients receiving REMICADE alone or in combination with immunosuppressive agents.

The onset of serious infections may be preceded by constitutional symptoms such as fever, chills, weight loss, and fatigue. The majority of serious infections, however, may also be preceded by signs or symptoms localized to the site of the infection.

Autoantibodies/Lupus-like Syndrome

Approximately half of REMICADE-treated patients in clinical trials who were antinuclear antibody (ANA) negative at baseline developed a positive ANA during the trial compared with approximately one-fifth of placebo-treated patients. Anti-dsDNA antibodies were newly detected in approximately one-fifth of REMICADE-treated patients compared with 0% of placebo-treated patients. Reports of lupus and lupus-like syndromes, however, remain uncommon.

Malignancies

In controlled trials, more REMICADE-treated patients developed malignancies than placebo-treated patients. (See WARNINGS, Malignancies.)

In a randomized controlled clinical trial exploring the use of REMICADE in patients with moderate to severe COPD who were either current smokers or ex-smokers, 157 patients were treated with REMICADE at doses similar to those used in rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease. Nine of these REMICADE-treated patients developed a malignancy, including 1 lymphoma, for a rate of 7.67 cases per 100 patient-years of follow-up (median duration of follow-up 0.8 years; 95% CI 3.51 - 14.56). There was one reported malignancy among 77 control patients for a rate of 1.63 cases per 100 patient-years of follow-up (median duration of follow-up 0.8 years; 95% CI 0.04 - 9.10). The majority of the malignancies developed in the lung or head and neck.

Malignancies, including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and Hodgkin's disease, have also been reported in patients receiving REMICADE during post-approval use.

Patients with Heart Failure

In a randomized study evaluating REMICADE in moderate to severe heart failure (NYHA Class III/IV; left ventricular ejection fraction ≤35%), 150 patients were randomized to receive treatment with 3 infusions of REMICADE 10 mg/kg, 5 mg/kg, or placebo, at 0, 2, and 6 weeks. Higher incidences of mortality and hospitalization due to worsening heart failure were observed in patients receiving the 10 mg/kg REMICADE dose. At 1 year, 8 patients in the 10 mg/kg REMICADE group had died compared with 4 deaths each in the 5 mg/kg REMICADE and the placebo groups. There were trends towards increased dyspnea, hypotension, angina, and dizziness in both the 10 mg/kg and 5 mg/kg REMICADE treatment groups, versus placebo. REMICADE has not been studied in patients with mild heart failure (NYHA Class I/II). (See CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS, Patients with Heart Failure.)

Immunogenicity

Treatment with REMICADE can be associated with the development of antibodies to infliximab. The incidence of antibodies to infliximab in patients given a 3-dose induction regimen followed by maintenance dosing was approximately 10% as assessed through 1 to 2 years of REMICADE treatment. A higher incidence of antibodies to infliximab was observed in Crohn's disease patients receiving REMICADE after drug free intervals >16 weeks. In a study of psoriatic arthritis, where 191 patients received 5 mg/kg with or without MTX, antibodies to infliximab occurred in 15% of patients. The majority of antibody-positive patients had low titers. Patients who were antibody-positive were more likely to have higher rates of clearance, reduced efficacy and to experience an infusion reaction (see ADVERSE REACTIONS, Infusion-related Reactions) than were patients who were antibody negative. Antibody development was lower among rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease patients receiving immunosuppressant therapies such as 6-MP/AZA or MTX.

In the psoriasis Study II, which included both the 5 mg/kg and 3 mg/kg doses, antibodies were observed in 36% of patients treated with 5 mg/kg every 8 weeks for 1 year, and in 51% of patients treated with 3 mg/kg every 8 weeks for 1 year. In the psoriasis Study III, which also included both the 5 mg/kg and 3 mg/kg doses, antibodies were observed in 20% of patients treated with 5 mg/kg induction (weeks 0, 2 and 6), and in 27% of patients treated with 3 mg/kg induction. Despite the increase in antibody formation, the infusion reaction rates in Studies I and II in patients treated with 5 mg/kg induction followed by every 8 week maintenance for one year and in Study III in patients treated with 5 mg/kg induction (14.1%-23.0%) and serious infusion reaction rates (<1%) were similar to those observed in other study populations. The clinical significance of apparent increased immunogenicity on efficacy and infusion reactions in psoriasis patients as compared to patients with other diseases treated with REMICADE over the long term is not known.

The data reflect the percentage of patients whose test results were positive for antibodies to infliximab in an ELISA assay, and are highly dependent on the sensitivity and specificity of the assay. Additionally, the observed incidence of antibody positivity in an assay may be influenced by several factors including sample handling, timing of sample collection, concomitant medication, and underlying disease. For these reasons, comparison of the incidence of antibodies to infliximab with the incidence of antibodies to other products may be misleading.

Hepatotoxicity

Severe liver injury, including acute liver failure and autoimmune hepatitis, has been reported rarely in patients receiving REMICADE (see WARNINGS, Hepatotoxicity). Reactivation of hepatitis B virus has occurred in patients receiving TNF-blocking agents, including REMICADE, who are chronic carriers of this virus (see WARNINGS, Hepatitis B Virus Reactivation).

In clinical trials in rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis, plaque psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis, elevations of aminotransferases were observed (ALT more common than AST) in a greater proportion of patients receiving REMICADE than in controls (Table 11), both when REMICADE was given as monotherapy and when it was used in combination with other immunosuppressive agents. In general, patients who developed ALT and AST elevations were asymptomatic, and the abnormalities decreased or resolved with either continuation or discontinuation of REMICADE, or modification of concomitant medications.

Table 11 Proportion of patients with elevated ALT in Clinical Trials

1Placebo patients received methotrexate while REMICADE patients received both REMICADE and methotrexate. Median follow-up was 58 weeks.

2Placebo patients in the 2 Phase III trials in Crohn's disease received an initial dose of 5 mg/kg REMICADE at study start and were on placebo in the maintenance phase. Patients who were randomized to the placebo maintenance group and then later crossed over to REMICADE are included in the REMICADE group in ALT analysis. Median follow-up was 54 weeks.

3Median follow-up was 30 weeks. Specifically, the median duration of follow-up was 30 weeks for placebo and 31 weeks for REMICADE.

4Median follow-up was 24 weeks for placebo group and 102 weeks for REMICADE group.

5Median follow-up was 39 weeks for REMICADE group and 18 weeks for placebo group.

6ALT values are obtained in 2 Phase 3 psoriasis studies with median follow-up of 50 weeks for REMICADE and 16 weeks for placebo.

Proportion of patients with elevated ALT
>1 to <3 x ULN ≥3 x ULN ≥5 x ULN
PlaceboREMICADEPlaceboREMICADEPlaceboREMICADE
Rheumatoid arthritis124%34%3%4%<1%<1%
Crohn's disease234%39%4%5%0%2%
Ulcerative colitis312%17%1%2%<1%<1%
Ankylosing spondylitis415%51%0%10%0%4%
Psoriatic arthritis516%50%0%7%0%2%
Plaque psoriasis624%49%<1%8%0%3%

Adverse Reactions in Pediatric Crohn's Disease

There were some differences in the adverse reactions observed in the pediatric patients receiving REMICADE compared to those observed in adults with Crohn's disease. These differences are discussed in the following paragraphs.

The following adverse events were reported more commonly in 103 randomized pediatric Crohn's disease patients administered 5 mg/kg REMICADE through 54 weeks than in 385 adult Crohn's disease patients receiving a similar treatment regimen: anemia (11%), blood in stool (10%), leukopenia (9%), flushing (9%), viral infection (8%), neutropenia (7%), bone fracture (7%), bacterial infection (6%), and respiratory tract allergic reaction (6%).

Infections were reported in 56% of randomized pediatric patients in Study Peds Crohn's and in 50% of adult patients in Study Crohn's I. In Study Peds Crohn's, infections were reported more frequently for patients who received every 8 week as opposed to every 12 week infusions (74% and 38%, respectively), while serious infections were reported for 3 patients in the every 8 week and 4 patients in the every 12 week maintenance treatment group. The most commonly reported infections were upper respiratory tract infection and pharyngitis, and the most commonly reported serious infection was abscess. Pneumonia was reported for 3 patients, (2 in the every 8 week and 1 in the every 12 week maintenance treatment groups). Herpes zoster was reported for 2 patients in the every 8 week maintenance treatment group.

In Study Peds Crohn's, 18% of randomized patients experienced one or more infusion reactions, with no notable difference between treatment groups. Of the 112 patients in Study Peds Crohn's, there were no serious infusion reactions, and 2 patients had non-serious anaphylactoid reactions.

Antibodies to REMICADE developed in 3% of pediatric patients in Study Peds Crohn's.

Elevations of ALT up to 3 times the upper limit of normal (ULN) were seen in 18% of pediatric patients in Crohn's disease clinical trials; 4% had ALT elevations ≥ 3 x ULN, and 1% had elevations ≥ 5 x ULN. (Median follow-up was 53 weeks.)

Adverse Reactions in Psoriasis Studies

During the placebo-controlled portion across the three clinical trials up to week 16, the proportion of patients who experienced at least 1 SAE (defined as resulting in death, life threatening, requires hospitalization, or persistent or significant disability/incapacity) was 1.7% in the 3 mg/kg REMICADE group, 3.2% in the placebo group, and 3.9% in the 5 mg/kg REMICADE group.

Among patients in the 2 Phase 3 studies, 12.4% of patients receiving REMICADE 5 mg/kg every 8 weeks through one year of maintenance treatment experienced at least 1 SAE in Study I. In Study II, 4.1% and 4.7% of patients receiving REMICADE 3 mg/kg and 5 mg/kg every 8 weeks, respectively, through one year of maintenance treatment experienced at least 1 SAE.

One death due to bacterial sepsis occurred 25 days after the second infusion of 5 mg/kg REMICADE. Serious infections included sepsis, and abscesses. In Study I, 2.7% of patients receiving REMICADE 5 mg/kg every 8 weeks through 1 year of maintenance treatment experienced at least 1 serious infection. In Study II, 1.0% and 1.3% of patients receiving REMICADE 3 mg/kg and 5 mg/kg, respectively, through 1 year of treatment experienced at least 1 serious infection. The most common serious infection (requiring hospitalization) were abscesses (skin, throat, and peri-rectal) reported by 5 (0.7%) patients in the 5 mg/kg REMICADE group. Two active cases of tuberculosis were reported: 6 weeks and 34 weeks after starting REMICADE.

In placebo-controlled portion of the psoriasis studies, 7 of 1123 patients who received REMICADE at any dose were diagnosed with at least one NMSC compared to 0 of 334 patients who received placebo.

In the psoriasis studies, 1% (15/1373) of patients experienced serum sickness or a combination of arthralgia and/or myalgia with fever, and/or rash, usually early in the treatment course. Of these patients, 6 required hospitalization due to fever, severe myalgia, arthralgia, swollen joints, and immobility.

Other Adverse Reactions

Safety data are available from 4779 REMICADE-treated adult patients, including 1304 with rheumatoid arthritis, 1106 with Crohn's disease, 484 with ulcerative colitis, 202 with ankylosing spondylitis, 293 with psoriatic arthritis, 1373 with plaque psoriasis and 17 with other conditions. (For information on other adverse reactions in pediatric patients, see ADVERSE REACTIONS – Adverse Reactions in Pediatric Crohn's Disease). Adverse events reported in ≥5% of all patients with rheumatoid arthritis receiving 4 or more infusions are in Table 12. The types and frequencies of adverse reactions observed were similar in REMICADE-treated rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis and Crohn's disease patients except for abdominal pain, which occurred in 26% of REMICADE-treated patients with Crohn's disease. In the Crohn's disease studies, there were insufficient numbers and duration of follow-up for patients who never received REMICADE to provide meaningful comparisons.

Table 12 ADVERSE EVENTS OCCURRING IN 5% OR MORE OF PATIENTS RECEIVING 4 OR MORE INFUSIONS FOR RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
PlaceboREMICADE
(n=350)(n=1129)
Average weeks of follow-up5966
Gastrointestinal
   Nausea20%21%
   Abdominal Pain8%12%
   Diarrhea12%12%
   Dyspepsia7%10%
Respiratory
   Upper respiratory tract infection25%32%
   Sinusitis8%14%
   Pharyngitis8%12%
   Coughing8%12%
   Bronchitis9%10%
   Rhinitis5%8%
Skin and appendages disorders
   Rash5%10%
   Pruritus2%7%
Body as a whole-general disorders
   Fatigue7%9%
   Pain7%8%
Resistance mechanism disorders
   Fever4%7%
   Moniliasis3%5%
Central and peripheral nervous system disorders
   Headache14%18%
Musculoskeletal system disorders
   Back pain5%8%
   Arthralgia7%8%
Urinary system disorders
   Urinary tract infection6%8%
Cardiovascular disorders, general
   Hypertension5%7%

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in clinical trials of another drug and may not predict the rates observed in broader patient populations in clinical practice.

The most common serious adverse events observed in clinical trials were infections (see ADVERSE REACTIONS, Infections). Other serious, medically relevant adverse events ≥0.2% or clinically significant adverse events by body system were as follows:

Body as a whole: allergic reaction, diaphragmatic hernia, edema, surgical/procedural sequela

Blood: pancytopenia

Cardiovascular: circulatory failure, hypotension, syncope

Gastrointestinal: constipation, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, ileus, intestinal obstruction, intestinal perforation, intestinal stenosis, pancreatitis, peritonitis, proctalgia

Central & Peripheral Nervous: meningitis, neuritis, peripheral neuropathy, dizziness

Heart Rate and Rhythm: arrhythmia, bradycardia, cardiac arrest, tachycardia

Liver and Biliary: biliary pain, cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, hepatitis

Metabolic and Nutritional: dehydration

Musculoskeletal: intervertebral disk herniation, tendon disorder

Myo-, Endo-, Pericardial and Coronary Valve: myocardial infarction

Platelet, Bleeding and Clotting: thrombocytopenia

Neoplasms: basal cell, breast, lymphoma

Psychiatric: confusion, suicide attempt

Red Blood Cell: anemia, hemolytic anemia

Reproductive: menstrual irregularity

Resistance Mechanism: cellulitis, sepsis, serum sickness

Respiratory: adult respiratory distress syndrome, lower respiratory tract infection (including pneumonia), pleural effusion, pleurisy, pulmonary edema, respiratory insufficiency

Skin and Appendages: increased sweating, ulceration

Urinary: renal calculus, renal failure

Vascular (Extracardiac): brain infarction, pulmonary embolism, thrombophlebitis

White Cell and Reticuloendothelial: leukopenia, lymphadenopathy

Post-marketing Adverse Events

The following adverse events, some with fatal outcomes, have been reported during post-approval use of REMICADE: neutropenia (see WARNINGS, Hematologic Events), interstitial lung disease (including pulmonary fibrosis/interstitial pneumonitis and very rare rapidly progressive disease), idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, pericardial effusion, systemic and cutaneous vasculitis, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, peripheral demyelinating disorders (such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, and multifocal motor neuropathy), psoriasis (including new onset and pustular, primarily palmar/plantar), transverse myelitis, and neuropathies (additional neurologic events have also been observed, see WARNINGS, Neurologic Events) and acute liver failure, jaundice, hepatitis, and cholestasis (see WARNINGS, Hepatotoxicity). Because these events are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to REMICADE exposure.

The following serious adverse events have been reported in the post-marketing experience in children: infections (some fatal) including opportunistic infections and tuberculosis, infusion reactions, and hypersensitivity reactions.

Serious adverse events in the post-marketing experience with REMICADE in the pediatric population have also included malignancies, including hepatosplenic T-cell lymphomas (see Boxed WARNINGS and WARNINGS), transient hepatic enzyme abnormalities, lupus-like syndromes, and the development of autoantibodies.



REPORTS OF SUSPECTED REMICADE SIDE EFFECTS / ADVERSE REACTIONS

Below is a sample of reports where side effects / adverse reactions may be related to Remicade. The information is not vetted and should not be considered as verified clinical evidence.

Possible Remicade side effects / adverse reactions in 28 year old female

Reported by a health professional (non-physician/pharmacist) from United States on 2011-10-03

Patient: 28 year old female

Reactions: Therapeutic Response Decreased, Maternal Exposure During Pregnancy, Premature Delivery

Suspect drug(s):
Remicade
    Indication: Crohn's Disease
    Start date: 2006-01-01

Remicade
    Start date: 2004-01-01



Possible Remicade side effects / adverse reactions in 68 year old male

Reported by a physician from United States on 2011-10-03

Patient: 68 year old male

Reactions: Pemphigus

Suspect drug(s):
Remicade

Other drugs received by patient: Methotrexate



Possible Remicade side effects / adverse reactions in 5 month old male

Reported by a health professional (non-physician/pharmacist) from United Kingdom on 2011-10-03

Patient: 5 month old male weighing 2.8 kg (6.2 pounds)

Reactions: Bovine Tuberculosis, Premature Baby, Haemorrhage

Adverse event resulted in: death

Suspect drug(s):
Remicade
    Indication: Maternal Exposure During Pregnancy
    Start date: 2004-01-01

Remicade
    Start date: 2006-01-01

Tice BCG
    Indication: Immunisation



See index of all Remicade side effect reports >>

Drug label data at the top of this Page last updated: 2008-08-27

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