Highlights for certolizumab
Certolizumab pegol is an injected drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis.
Common side effects include cold and flu viruses, rashes, and urinary tract infections.
The dose is injected by a healthcare provider every 2 weeks or once a month.
Certolizumab pegol can lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections. Some people have serious infections because of taking certolizumab pegol.
Don’t start taking certolizumab pegol if you have any kind of infection, unless your doctor says it’s okay.
What is certolizumab pegol?
Certolizumab pegol is an injectable drug. It’s given by a healthcare provider in a hospital or clinical setting. Your doctor may decide that you can inject yourself at home. If so, you should be properly trained how to inject yourself with the prefilled syringe by a doctor or nurse.
This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs.
Why it's used
Certolizumab pegol is used to treat Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
How it works
Certolizumab pegol works to block a substance in your body that causes inflammation caused by your immune system.
certolizumab Side Effects
Most Common Side Effects
The most common side effects that occur with certolizumab pegol include:
upper respiratory infections, such as the flu and common cold
urinary tract infections
Serious Side Effects
If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
infections. Symptoms may include:
- cough that doesn’t go away
- low grade fever
- unexplained weight loss
- loss of body fat and muscle
heart failure. Symptoms may include:
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- swelling of your ankles or feet
- sudden weight gain
allergic reactions. Symptoms may include:
- skin rash
- swelling or itching of your face, tongue, lips, or throat
- trouble breathing
returning hepatitis B virus infection in people who carry the virus. Symptoms may include:
- not feeling well
- yellowing of your skin or whites of your eyes
- poor appetite or vomiting
- pain on the right side of your stomach
New or worsening nervous system problems, such as multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, seizures, or inflammation of the nerves of the eyes. Symptoms may include:
- numbness or tingling
- problems with your vision
- weakness in your arms or legs
blood problems. Symptoms may include:
- fever that doesn't go away
- bruising or bleeding very easily
- looking very pale
immune reactions, including a lupus-like syndrome. Symptoms may include:
- shortness of breath
- joint pain
- rash on your cheeks or arms that gets worse with sun exposure
Certolizumab pegol does not cause drowsiness.
Mild side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if they’re more severe or don’t go away.
certolizumab May Interact with Other Medications
Certolizumab pegol can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. Your healthcare provider will look out for interactions with your current medications. Always be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, herbs or vitamins you’re taking.
How to Take certolizumab (Dosage)
Your doctor will determine a dose that’s right for you based on your individual needs. Your general health may affect your dose. Tell your doctor about all health conditions you have before your doctor or nurse administers the drug to you.
Certolizumab pegol comes with risks if you don’t receive it how you should.
If You Don’t Take It at All
If you don’t take certolizumab pegol, your condition won’t improve and it may get worse.
If You Stop Taking It
Your condition may get worse if you stop taking certolizumab pegol.
If You Receive Too Much
No serious side effects have been seen in people who have taken up to twice the recommended dose. But you should call your doctor if you think you’ve received too much.
What to Do If You Miss a Dose/Appointment
If you miss a dose or appointment, ask your doctor when to schedule your next one.
How to Tell the Drug Is Working
You may be able to tell this drug is working for Crohn’s disease if you have less diarrhea, bloody stools, and stomach pain.
You may be able to tell it’s working for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis if you have less joint pain and are able to move better.
This is a long-term medication.
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- Cimzia - certolizumab pegol: Cimzia- certolizumab pegol injection, solution. (2013, October). Retrieved from http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=b4c2c9dc-a0bb-4d64-a667-a67ebe88392d
Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group
Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on May 20, 2016