What Is Cimzia® (certolizumab pegol)?

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: March 2023 | Last updated: March 2023

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 US 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.

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

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

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.

Cimzia has a boxed warning, the strictest warning from the FDA. It has this warning because:

  • It can increase your risk of serious infections
  • Cancer has been reported in children and adolescents treated with other medicines in the same drug class as Cimzia (TNF blockers)

These are not all the possible side effects of Cimzia. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Cimzia. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Cimzia.

Dosing information

Cimzia is administered by an injection given under the skin (subcutaneously). For more information, read the full prescribing information of Cimzia.

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