Cimzia (certolizumab pegol)

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

Cimzia® (certolizumab pegol) is a prescription biologic drug used to treat some adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. It may be recommended for people taking injections or pills (systemic therapy) or light therapy. Systemic drugs are medicines that affect the whole body, not just the skin. Light therapy involves controlled exposure of your affected skin to ultraviolet light.1,2

Cimzia is also approved to treat certain cases of:1

  • Crohn's disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis

What are the ingredients in Cimzia?

The active ingredient in Cimzia is certolizumab pegol.1

How does Cimzia work?

In autoimmune diseases like psoriasis, the immune system is abnormally triggered and causes an increase in inflammation. This in turn causes psoriasis symptoms like inflamed patches on the skin.2

Cimzia is a type of biologic drug called a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker. TFN is a type of chemical messenger that plays a key role in triggering inflammation. By blocking TNF, Cimzia works to reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.1

What are the possible side effects of Cimzia?

The most common side effects of Cimzia include:1

  • Flu
  • Cold
  • Rash
  • Urinary tract infections

Cimzia has a boxed warning, the strictest warning from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It has this warning because:1

  • It can increase your risk of serious infections
  • It can increase the risk of certain types of cancer, especially in children, teens, and young adults

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.

Other things to know

Before starting treatment with Cimzia, tell your doctor if you:1

  • Have an infection
  • Have or have had lymphoma or any other type of cancer
  • Have or have had congestive heart failure
  • Are allergic to rubber or latex, since the plastic needle shield inside the removable cap of the prefilled syringe contains natural rubber
  • Have or have had seizures, any numbness or tingling, or a disease that affects your nervous system such as multiple sclerosis or Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Have or have had serious blood conditions
  • Are scheduled to receive a vaccine

Taking Cimizia can reduce your body’s ability to fight off infections. For this reason, your doctor will test you for tuberculosis before starting treatment. They also will continue to monitor you throughout treatment for signs of any other infections.1

There is not enough data to know if Cimzia is safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding. Before starting treatment with Enbrel, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant. They can help you decide if Cimzia is right for you.1

Cimzia is given as an injection under the skin. Your doctor may decide that you or a caregiver can give the injections at home. If so your doctor will train you or your caregiver on how to prepare, store, and inject Cimzia. Your doctor will also tell you how often you should use Cimzia.1

Before beginning treatment for psoriasis, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

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

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