Tzield (teplizumab-mzwv) is a prescription drug that helps prevent worsening of type 1 diabetes. Tzield comes as a liquid solution that’s given as an intravenous (IV) infusion.
Tzield is prescribed for adults and some children to help prevent type 1 diabetes from worsening to the point of causing symptoms. It’s given as an IV infusion, an injection into your vein over time. You’ll receive Tzield at your doctor’s office or another medical facility.
For more information about the specific uses of Tzield, see the “What is Tzield used for?” section below.
Tzield contains the active ingredient teplizumab-mzwv.* (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.)
Tzield is a biologic medication. A biologic is made from parts of living organisms. It’s available only as a brand-name drug. It isn’t available in a biosimilar form. Biosimilars are like generic drugs. But unlike generics, which are made for non-biologic drugs, biosimilars are made for biologic drugs.
Biosimilars will have the same active ingredient core name as the brand-name drug. But they’ll have unique suffixes. This is why “-mzwv” appears at the end of the name of the active ingredient. This is to show that it’s distinct from biosimilars that may be created in the future.
Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate how the sugar from the food you eat moves into cells in your body. Without insulin, most cells don’t receive enough of the sugar they need for energy.
In its early stages, type 1 diabetes may be diagnosed based on blood tests, such as a blood sugar test or tests for certain antibodies. But you might not have symptoms.
As the disease progresses (worsens), you can begin to experience symptoms. The stage you begin to experience symptoms is called stage 3. Symptoms of diabetes may include:
Tzield is an anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody drug that attaches to certain immune cells in the body. It may help to protect your pancreas from attack by the immune system. This protection may allow your pancreas to continue to make insulin for longer.
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have specific questions about what Tzield is used for or how it works.
Whether you have health insurance or not, cost may be a factor when considering Tzield. What you’ll pay for Tzield may depend on several factors, such as your treatment plan and the pharmacy you use.
Here are a few factors to consider regarding cost:
- Cost information and savings coupons: You can visit Optum Perks* to get price estimates of what you’d pay for Tzield when using coupons from the site.
- Savings program: If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. A program called Provention Bio COMPASS may be available.
You can also check out this article to learn more about saving money on prescriptions.
* Optum Perks is a sister site of Healthline. Optum Perks coupons cannot be used with any insurance copays or benefits.
Find answers to some commonly asked questions about Tzield.
Is Tzield an insulin?
No, Tzield is not an insulin.
Tzield is an anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody drug that helps protect the pancreas from attack by your immune system. This protection may allow your pancreas to continue to make insulin longer.
Examples of insulins prescribed to help manage type 1 diabetes include:
- rapid-acting insulin, such as insulin lispro (Humalog, Admelog, Lyumjev), insulin glulisine (Apidra), and insulin aspart (Novolog, Fiasp)
- regular-acting (short-acting) insulin, such as human regular (Humulin R, Novolin R)
- intermediate-acting insulin, such as NPH (Humulin N, Novolin N)
- long-acting insulin, such as detemir (Levemir), glargine (Basaglar, Lantus, Toujeo), and degludec (Tresiba)
If you have questions about how Tzield and insulin work to manage your diabetes, talk with your doctor.
Can Tzield be used for type 2 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. With type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and damages your pancreas. Your damaged pancreas makes less insulin. Tzield works by helping to protect your pancreas from your immune system.
Type 2 diabetes isn’t an autoimmune disease. At first, the pancreas makes a lot of insulin because the cells aren’t responding to the insulin as they should. Over time, the pancreas may become damaged from making so much insulin. But Tzield cannot protect the pancreas from this damage.
If you’d like to learn more about how type 1 and type 2 diabetes differ or what treatment options are available for type 2 diabetes, talk with your doctor.
Like most drugs, Tzield may cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists describe some of the more common side effects that Tzield may cause. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.
Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on:
- your age
- other health conditions you have
- other medications you take
Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Tzield. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.
Mild side effects
Here’s a list of some of the mild side effects that Tzield can cause. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist or read Tzield’s prescribing information to learn about other mild side effects.
Mild side effects of Tzield that have been reported include:
Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Allergic reaction” section below.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects from Tzield can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Tzield, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or your local emergency number.
Serious side effects of Tzield that have been reported include:
- serious infections
- cytokine release syndrome
- very low white blood cell level
- severe allergic reaction†
† To learn more about this side effect, see the “Allergic reaction” section below.
Some people may have an allergic reaction to Tzield.
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:
- skin rash
- flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, usually in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.
Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Tzield. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.
Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Tzield that’s right for you. Below are commonly used dosages, but the dosage you receive will be determined by your doctor.
Form and strength
Tzield is available as a liquid solution that’s given as an intravenous (IV) infusion (an injection into your vein given over time). It comes in one strength of 2 milligrams (mg) in 2 milliliters (mL) of solution.
You’ll receive Tzield once daily for 14 consecutive days.
How Tzield is given
You’ll receive infusions at your doctor’s office or another medical facility. Each infusion takes about 30 minutes.
The first five times that you receive Tzield, your doctor will likely give you certain medications to prevent an infusion reaction. Medications may include ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), ondansetron, and diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you continue taking these medications throughout your treatment with Tzield.
Questions about using Tzield
The following are some common questions about using Tzield.
- Is there a best time of day to receive Tzield? You’ll get your dose of Tzield at your doctor’s office or another medical facility. This medication can be taken at any time of day, but it’s best to take it around the same time each day. This helps keep a consistent level of the drug in your body, which helps Tzield work effectively.
- What if I miss a dose of Tzield? If you miss your appointment to receive a dose of Tzield, call your doctor’s office as soon as possible. They can help reschedule your appointment and get you back on schedule.
- Will I need to use Tzield long term? No, Tzield isn’t meant to be used long term. This medication is taken once daily for 14 consecutive days.
The following is important information to consider before using Tzield.
Taking a drug with certain medications, vaccines, and foods can affect how the drug works. These effects are called interactions.
Tzield and other treatments
Before starting Tzield treatment, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), and other drugs you take. Also, tell them about vitamins, herbs, and supplements you take. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.
Tzield and alcohol
Alcohol isn’t known to interact with Tzield. But having diabetes and drinking alcohol does require some precautions. This is because alcohol can affect your blood sugar level. It may also interact with other diabetes medications you take.
Talk with your doctor to learn more about alcohol and diabetes.
Tzield and vaccines
Tzield may interact with some vaccines, including:
- Live vaccines. These vaccines contain weakened versions of the bacteria or virus that they’re meant to protect against. Examples of live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, and chickenpox. You should not receive live vaccines during your treatment. This is because getting a live vaccine while you’re receiving Tzield may increase your risk of infection. If you need a live vaccine, it’s recommended that you receive it at least 8 weeks before starting Tzield or at least 1 year after stopping Tzield.
- Inactivated vaccines. These vaccines contain a whole, killed version of the bacteria or virus they’re meant to protect against. Examples of inactivated vaccines include the injected flu, polio, hepatitis A, and rabies vaccines. It’s recommended that you not receive an inactivated vaccine within 2 weeks of starting and 6 weeks of stopping Tzield.
- mRNA vaccines. These vaccines instruct your immune cells on how to fight the bacteria or virus that they’re made to protect against. Examples of mRNA vaccines are the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. It’s recommended that you not receive an inactivated vaccine within 2 weeks of starting and 6 weeks of stopping Tzield. This is because the vaccine may not work as well if given during this time.
If you’re due for a vaccine, talk with your doctor first.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Tzield is not safe to use during pregnancy. This medication may cause harm to a developing fetus. Due to this risk, Tzield should be avoided during pregnancy and at least 30 days before a planned pregnancy.
If you do become pregnant during your treatment with Tzield, you’re encouraged to report your pregnancy to the drug manufacturer at 1-844-778-2246.
In addition, it’s unknown whether Tzield passes into breastmilk or what effects the drug may have on a breastfed child. Your doctor may recommend pumping and discarding your breastmilk during your 14-day treatment with Tzield and for 20 days after.
Tzield can sometimes cause harmful effects in people who have certain conditions. This is known as a drug-condition interaction. Other factors may also affect whether Tzield is a good treatment option for you.
Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Tzield. Be sure to tell them if any of the following factors apply to you:
- current infection
- recent vaccination
- previous allergic reaction to Tzield
If you have questions about taking Tzield, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Questions you may want to ask include:
- How will I know whether Tzield is working for me?
- How should I manage side effects of Tzield?
- Can I repeat my treatment with Tzield in the future?
To learn more about Tzield, see these articles:
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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.