Generic Name: certolizumab (SER toe LIZ oo mab)
Brand Name: Cimzia
What is certolizumab?
Certolizumab reduces the effects of a substance in the body that can cause inflammation.
Certolizumab is used to treat the symptoms of Crohn's disease after other drugs have been tried without success. Certolizumab is also used to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis in adults.
Certolizumab may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about certolizumab?
You should not be treated with certolizumab if you have an active infection.
Serious and sometimes fatal infections may occur during treatment with certolizumab. Contact your doctor right away if you have signs of infection, such as: fever, cough, flu symptoms, or skin sores.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using certolizumab?
You should not use certolizumab if you are allergic to it, or if you have an active infection.
Some people using this medicine have developed a rare fast-growing type of lymphoma (cancer) that affects the liver, spleen, and bone marrow, and it can be fatal. This has occurred mostly in teenage boys and young men using certolizumab or similar medicines to treat Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
However, people with autoimmune disorders (including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriasis) may have a higher risk of lymphoma. Talk to your doctor about your individual risk.
To make sure certolizumab is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
an active or chronic infection;
active tuberculosis infection that is not being treated;
signs of infection such as fever, cough, or flu symptoms;
HIV or a weak immune system;
hepatitis B (or if you are a carrier of the virus);
a history of cancer (especially skin cancer);
congestive heart failure;
epilepsy or seizure disorder;
numbness or tingling, or a disease that affects your nerves or muscles (such as multiple sclerosis); or
if you are scheduled to receive any vaccines, or have recently been vaccinated with BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guerin).
Tell your doctor if you have ever had tuberculosis, if anyone in your household has tuberculosis, or if you have recently traveled to an area where certain infections are common (Ohio River Valley, Mississippi River Valley, and the Southwest).
It is not known whether certolizumab will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you become pregnant while using this medicine.
If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry. This is to track the outcome of the pregnancy and to evaluate any effects of certolizumab on the baby.
It is not known whether certolizumab passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
How is certolizumab given?
Before you start treatment with certolizumab, your doctor may perform tests to make sure you do not have tuberculosis or other infections.
Certolizumab is given as two injections under the skin of your stomach or thigh. This medication is usually given every 2 to 4 weeks. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not give yourself this medicine if you do not understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.
Do not use the medicine if it looks cloudy or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medication.
Certolizumab can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill.
While using certolizumab, you may need frequent blood tests. Your skin may also need to be checked for signs of skin cancer.
If you have ever had hepatitis B, certolizumab can cause this condition to come back or get worse. You will need frequent blood tests to check your liver function during treatment and for several months after you stop using this medicine.
Store this medicine in its original carton in the refrigerator. Protect from light and do not freeze.
Each single-use prefilled syringe is for one use only. Throw away after one use, even if there is still some medicine left in it after injecting your dose.
Use a disposable needle and syringe only once. Follow any state or local laws about throwing away used needles and syringes. Use a puncture-proof "sharps" disposal container (ask your pharmacist where to get one and how to throw it away). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose of certolizumab.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while receiving certolizumab?
Ask your doctor before receiving any vaccine while you are being treated with certolizumab.
Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding or injury. Use extra care to prevent bleeding while shaving or brushing your teeth.
Certolizumab side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Serious and sometimes fatal infections may occur during treatment with certolizumab. Contact your doctor right away if you have signs of infection, such as: fever, chills, cough, sweating, muscle pain, open sores or skin wounds, unusual tiredness, feeling short of breath, painful urination, diarrhea, or weight loss.
Call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms of lymphoma:
chest pain, cough, feeling short of breath;
swelling in your neck, underarm, or groin (this swelling may come and go);
fever, night sweats, itching, weight loss, feeling tired;
feeling full after eating only a small amount; or
pain in your upper stomach that may spread to your back or shoulder.
Stop using certolizumab and call your doctor at once if you have:
shortness of breath (even with mild exertion);
swelling of your ankles or feet;
pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding;
a new growth on your skin (may be red or purple), or any change in the size or color of a mole, freckle, or bump on your skin;
nerve problems--vision problems, dizziness, numbness or tingly feeling, muscle weakness in your arms or legs;
liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tiredness, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
lupus-like syndrome--joint pain or swelling, trouble breathing, or a butterfly-shaped skin rash over your cheeks and nose (worsens in sunlight).
Common side effects may include:
pain or burning when you urinate;
cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect certolizumab?
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with certolizumab, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
More about Cimzia (certolizumab)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about certolizumab.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 11.02.
Date modified: January 10, 2017
Last reviewed: May 23, 2016