Is Cimzia the same as other biologicals?

Cimzia is another tumor necrosis factor(TNF) antagonist or blocker. It is indicated to reduce moderate to severe Crohn's disease symptoms. It is given to adults that did not improve with other treatments.

Cimzia is injected by a health professional only. It should be administered in your doctor’s office so you can be monitored closely. You may receive a dose of an antihistamine like Benadryl to prevent a possible allergic reaction and a dose of a pain reliever. Taking Benadryl doesn’t guarantee full protection from developing an allergic reaction.

The chemical name for it is certolizumab pegol. This medication is given as an injection under the skin (stomach area or thigh). This can be an advantage for patients that do not prefer long IV (intravenous) infusions or allergic to other TNF blockers. Certolizumab pegol is given initially with 400mg (broken down into two doses) and then on week two and week four. The maintenance therapy will continue usually every four weeks if the results are positive from the initial injections.

The thing to know about this Crohn's disease medication is that it alters your immune system just like other TNF blockers like Remicade and Humira. You become more prone to infections. These infections may even include TB. In some cases this was reported with death of the patients.

Read all possible information when you consider taking this medication. You must tell your doctor if you have TB, diabetes, HIV, hepatitis B, cancer, seizures, heart failure, a virus or any other conditions. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or taking any type of supplements including multivitamins and immune boosters. You need to inform the doctor if you are taking an antibiotic for an infection.

Certolizumab pegol has serious side effects that affect the central nervous system like dizziness, seizures, multiple sclerosis, eye problems, etc.

Certolizumab pegol is also associated with serious infections like TB and it’s associated with cancers including lymphoma. Other serious problems include heart failure, blood problems, allergic and immune reactions.

Cimzia has more common, but less serious side effects like UTI (urinary tract infections), URI (upper respiratory infections) and joint pains.

Ask your doctor before getting a flu shot. Do not receive any live vaccines while on Cimzia therapy because the immune system is already altered. Do not take it together with Kineret (anakinra) which the same type of medication but is indicated for rheumatoid arthritis. Try to stay away from places that may increase your risk of getting sick with virus or infection, like hospitals or nursing homes.

Start questioning everything! That’s how you can prevent major problems. Do not be afraid of asking your doctor “stupid” questions. Many patients I know that are very proactive achieve best possible therapeutic outcomes.

I wish you well!

As per recent reports: FDA continues to receive reports of a rare cancer of white blood cells (known as Hepatosplenic T-Cell Lymphoma or HSTCL, primarily in adolescents and young adults being treated for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis with medicines known as tumor necrosis factors (TNF) blockers such as Cimzia, as well as with azathioprine, and/or mercaptopurine. Other TNF blockers include infliximab (Remicade), etancercept (Enbrel), adalimumab (Humira) and golimumab (Simponi).

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