What Is Cimzia® (certolizumab pegol)?

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: June 2022. | Last updated: October 2022

Cimzia is a systemic medication classified as a biologic used to treat people with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May 2018 and is manufactured by UCB, Inc.

What are the ingredients in Cimzia?

The active ingredient in Cimzia is certolizumab pegol.

How does Cimzia work?

In autoimmune diseases like psoriasis, the immune system is abnormally triggered and causes an increase in inflammation, which causes the inflamed patches on the skin. Cimzia targets and blocks tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a protein involved in the inflammatory response. By blocking TNF, Cimzia can reduce the symptoms of psoriasis. Cimzia is a PEGylated TNF inhibitor. PEG is polyethylene glycol, a substance that is attached to a protein to make it stay in the body longer.

What are the possible side effects of Cimzia?

The most common documented side effects of Cimzia include redness or pain at the injection site, upper respiratory infections, rash, and urinary tract infections. Cimzia may cause serious side effects, such as new or worsening of infections, which may require hospitalization. Lymphoma and other malignancies have been reported with this class of medication in children and adolescents, so it should not be used in pediatric patients. This is not a complete list of adverse effects, check with your doctor if you are experiencing any side effects.

Things to know about Cimzia

Because Cimzia affects the immune system, it can decrease the body’s ability to fight infection. Patients taking Cimzia have an increased chance that serious infections, including fungal, bacterial and viral infections, can spread through the body. These infections may require hospital treatment and may cause death. Cimzia may cause Hepatitis B virus reactivation, patients should be tested for HBV infections before starting treatment. Any infection, including open cuts or sores, cold sores or chronic infections that do not go away, should be brought to the attention of a physician.

Patients should be tested for tuberculosis (TB) before beginning and during treatment with Cimzia.

Women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or who are breastfeeding should talk to their doctor before taking Cimzia.

Dosing information

Cimzia is administered by an injection given under the skin (subcutaneously). The recommended dose for adults with moderate-to-severe psoriasis is 400 mg, given as two subcutaneous injections of 200 mg each, every other week. For people who weigh less than 90 kg (approximately 198 pounds), the dosage may be decreased to 200 mg every other week after the initial three doses.

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

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