Cimzia (Certolizumab)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: May 2023

Cimzia is a biologic drug that is approved to treat adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis (RA).1

What are the ingredients in Cimzia?

The active ingredient in Cimzia is certolizumab pegol.1

How does Cimzia work?

Cimzia is a type of medicine known as a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor. TNF is a protein made by your immune system. In people with certain autoimmune diseases like RA, the immune system makes too much TNF. This leads to RA symptoms like joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.1

Cimzia works by targeting and sticking to the extra TNF in your body. This helps reduce RA symptoms and prevent further joint damage found in later stages of RA.1

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Cimzia include:1

  • Upper respiratory tract infection (runny nose, sore throat, cough)
  • Rash
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)

Cimzia has a boxed warning, the strictest warning from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It has this warning because it may cause serious side effects, including:1

  • Serious infections, such as tuberculosis (TB) and sepsis, that can lead to hospitalization or death
  • Increased risk of certain cancers, especially in children and teens

Your doctor will test you for TB and hepatitis B before you start Cimzia. Your doctor will also closely monitor you for signs and symptoms of TB during treatment with Cimzia.1

Do not start taking Cimzia if you have any type of infection unless your doctor tells you to. Contact your doctor right away if you have any signs of an infection, such as:1

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Feeling very tired

These are not all the possible side effects of Cimzia. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Cimzia. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Cimzia.

Other things to know

Before taking Cimzia, tell your doctor if you:1

  • Have an infection
  • Have or have had lymphoma or any other type of cancer
  • Have heart problems
  • Are allergic to rubber or latex
  • Have or have had seizures, numbness, tingling, or a condition that affects your nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis
  • Have or have had blood conditions

People taking Cimzia should not receive certain vaccines. Talk to your doctor before getting any vaccines.1

There is not enough data to know if Cimzia is safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding. Before taking Cimzia, talk to your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.1

Before beginning treatment for RA, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Cimzia.

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