Certolizumab (Injection)

Introduction

Certolizumab Pegol (ser-toe-LIZ-oo-mab PEG-ol)

Treats symptoms of Crohn disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Brand Name(s)

Cimzia

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to certolizumab.

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given as a shot under your skin. It is usually given in the abdomen or thigh.
  • A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • You may be taught how to give your medicine at home. Make sure you understand all instructions before giving yourself an injection. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • Use a new needle and syringe each time you inject your medicine.
  • You will be shown the body areas where this shot can be given. Use a different body area each time you give yourself a shot. Keep track of where you give each shot to make sure you rotate body areas.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • If you store this medicine at home, keep it in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. Protect the medicine from direct light. Keep your medicine in the original package until you are ready to use it.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine, containers, and other supplies. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Throw away used needles in a hard, closed container that the needles cannot poke through. Keep this container away from children and pets.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Tell your doctor if you also use abatacept (Orencia®), anakinra (Kineret®), etanercept (Enbrel®), natalizumab (Tysabri®), rituximab (Rituxan®), methotrexate (Rheumatrex®, Trexall®), or a steroid medicine such as dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisolone, prednisone, or Medrol®.
  • Talk to your doctor before getting flu shots or other vaccines while you are receiving this medicine. Vaccines may not work as well, or they could make you ill while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, congestive heart failure, blood or bone marrow problems, or any type of infection, including hepatitis B, tuberculosis, or an infection that would not go away or keeps coming back. Tell your doctor if you have problems with your immune system, a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome, multiple sclerosis, or a similar nervous system disease.
  • You will need to have a skin test for tuberculosis before you start using this medicine. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your home has ever had a positive reaction to a tuberculosis skin test or been exposed to tuberculosis.
  • This medicine lowers the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
  • This medicine may make you more likely to get an infection. Your risk of getting an infection increases when you travel to places where certain organisms (such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, or parasites) are more common. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of an infection, such as cough, fever, chills, runny or stuffy nose, night sweats, trouble breathing, or unusual tiredness or weakness.
  • A small number of people who have used this type of medicine have developed certain types of cancer, such as leukemia and lymphoma. Talk with your doctor if you have unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness, swollen lymph nodes, or unexplained weight loss.
  • Rarely, some people who have used this medicine developed lupus-like symptoms during treatment. Tell your doctor right away if you have muscle or joint pain, a skin rash, or a general feeling of illness.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you have dark urine or pale stools, yellow skin or eyes, nausea and vomiting, or upper stomach pain. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain medical tests.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate, bloody or cloudy urine, or painful urination
  • Dark-colored urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain in your upper stomach, yellow skin or eyes
  • Fast or uneven heartbeat
  • Fever, chills, cough, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, and body aches
  • Swollen lymph glands in your neck, armpits, or groin
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • Trouble breathing, cold sweat, bluish-colored skin
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Joint pain
  • Redness, pain, or swelling where the shot was given

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013

         
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