If you have certain inflammatory conditions, your doctor might suggest Cimzia (certolizumab) as a treatment option for you.
Cimzia is a prescription medication that’s used in adults to treat:
- Crohn’s disease
- plaque psoriasis
- certain types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis
Cimzia is a type of drug called a tumor necrosis factor blocker. You receive it as an injection under your skin.
This article describes the dosages of Cimzia, including its forms, strength, and how to use the drug. To learn more about Cimzia, see this in-depth article.
Note: This article covers Cimzia’s typical dosages, which are provided by the drug’s manufacturer. But when using Cimzia, always take the dosage that your doctor prescribes.
Cimzia is a medication that you’ll get as an injection under your skin. Your doctor may give you the injection in their office. Or they can teach you or your caregiver how to give yourself the injection at home.
What are the forms of Cimzia?
Cimzia comes in two different forms:
- Lyophilized powder (powder that’s been freeze-dried to remove moisture) in a single-dose vial. If your doctor gives you Cimzia injections, they’ll typically use this form. Your doctor will mix the powder with sterile water before giving the injection.
- Liquid solution in a single-dose prefilled syringe. You’ll use this form if you give yourself Cimzia injections at home.
What strength does Cimzia come in?
Both forms of Cimzia contain one strength: 200 milligrams (mg).
What are the typical dosages of Cimzia?
Your Cimzia dosage will depend on the condition that you’re treating. Other factors may include your body weight and how you respond to the treatment.
For most conditions, you’ll likely start treatment with a higher dose, called the starting dose or loading dose. This helps your body respond faster to the drug.
After a certain amount of time, your doctor may reduce your dose to what is called a maintenance dose. This is the dose that you take long term to keep your symptoms under control.
The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
Dosage for plaque psoriasis
For plaque psoriasis, the typical dosage of Cimzia is 400 mg (two injections of 200 mg) once every 2 weeks.
If you weigh less than or equal to 90 kilograms (about 198 pounds), your doctor might reduce your dosage. Specifically, after your first three doses, you may have a 200-mg dose (one injection) once every 2 weeks.
Dosage for rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis
After three doses at 400 mg, your doctor may switch you to a maintenance dose. This is typically 200 mg, which you’ll receive once every 2 weeks.
In some cases, your doctor may change your maintenance dosage to 400 mg once every 4 weeks. This would reduce the number of injections you have per month. Do not switch to this dosage without talking with your doctor first.
Dosage for ankylosing spondylitis and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis
Ankylosing spondylitis and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis are forms of arthritis that affect the spine. For these conditions, the typical starting dosage of Cimzia is 400 mg once every 2 weeks.
After three doses at 400 mg, your doctor may switch you to a maintenance dose. This is typically 200 mg, which you’ll receive once every 2 weeks. Or it may be 400 mg, received once every 4 weeks.
Dosage for Crohn’s disease
For Crohn’s disease, the typical starting dosage of Cimzia is 400 mg once every 2 weeks for three doses.
If your symptoms have eased after this, your doctor will switch you to a maintenance dosage. This will likely be 400 mg once every 4 weeks.
Is Cimzia used long term?
Yes, Cimzia is typically used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Cimzia is safe and effective for you, it’s likely that you’ll use it long term.
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about Cimzia’s dosage.
Is Cimzia used for ulcerative colitis? If so, what’s the dosage?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved Cimzia to treat ulcerative colitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease). But Cimzia is being studied to see if it could be effective for this use.
Because Cimzia isn’t approved to treat ulcerative colitis, there isn’t a recommended dosage for this condition. If you’re interested in taking Cimzia to treat ulcerative colitis, talk with your doctor. This would be an off-label use of the drug. (Off-label drug use means using a drug for a purpose other than that approved by the FDA.)
How long does Cimzia take to work?
It may take a few weeks before your symptoms start to ease. If you think Cimzia isn’t working for you, don’t change the dosage of Cimzia that your doctor has prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions about whether Cimzia is working for you.
If you miss an appointment to have an injection of Cimzia, call your doctor’s office right away to reschedule.
If you usually inject Cimzia yourself and you miss a dose, call your doctor’s office to find out what to do. They may tell you to take the missed dose as soon as possible. But if it’s nearly time for your next dose, they may tell you to skip the missed dose.
Your doctor can also tell you if you need to adjust your dosing schedule after a missed dose.
If you need help remembering to take your dose of Cimzia on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm, downloading a reminder app, or setting a timer on your phone. It can also be helpful to write your Cimzia dosing schedule on a calendar.
The dosage of Cimzia you’re prescribed may depend on:
- the type and severity of the condition you’re using Cimzia to treat
- your body weight
- how you respond to the treatment
If you have any questions about the dosage of Cimzia you should take, talk with your doctor.
You’ll receive Cimzia as an injection under your skin. Your doctor can give you Cimzia injections in their office. They can also teach you or your caregiver how to do this at home using Cimzia prefilled syringes.
You’ll take Cimzia either once every 2 weeks or once every 4 weeks. And you may need to take one or two injections each time. Always follow your doctor’s instructions.
You can inject Cimzia into these areas of your body:
- the front of one of your thighs
- your belly, avoiding the area 5 centimeters (about 2 inches) around your belly button
Each time you give yourself Cimzia, you should rotate injection sites. This means injecting the drug into a different place in one of the areas mentioned above. Make a note of the date and the area you used for each injection. This way you can avoid injecting in the same place next time.
If you need to take two injections for your dose, the injections should be at least 2.5 centimeters (about 1 inch) apart.
Avoid injecting Cimzia into areas of skin that are tender, red, discolored, bruised, or hard. Also avoid areas where you have scars or stretch marks.
Don’t use more Cimzia than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects.
What to do in case you use too much Cimzia
Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve used too much Cimzia. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers, or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately, or go to the nearest emergency room.
The sections above describe the typical dosages provided by the drug manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Cimzia for you, they will prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.
Remember, you shouldn’t change your dosage of Cimzia without your doctor’s recommendation. Only take Cimzia exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.
Here are some questions you may want to ask your doctor:
- Can my dosage be increased if Cimzia doesn’t work well enough for me?
- If I use Cimzia while I’m pregnant, will I need a different dosage?
- Should my dose be reduced if I have side effects with Cimzia?
Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.