What is CIMZIA®?
CIMZIA® is a medication used to treat moderate or severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), and moderate to severe Plaque Psoriasis (PsO).
The active ingredient of CIMZIA® is called certolizumab pegol, a humanized antibody.
Antibodies are proteins that identify other proteins and bind to them. People with RA, PsA, AS or PsO usually have too much of a protein called tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) in their bodies. CIMZIA® works by binding itself to TNFα in order to reduce the amount of TNFα in the body back to normal levels, thus alleviating the symptoms of RA, PsA, AS or PsO.
Can I use other medications with CIMZIA®?
Tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking including prescription, non-prescription as well as any vitamin and herbal supplements.
Your doctor will tell you if you may take other medications or supplements while you are taking CIMZIA®. It’s especially important to tell your doctor if you take other biologic medications such as Kineret (anakinra) or Orencia (abatacept). Studies have shown that taking other biologic medications while on TNF blocker therapy may increase your chances for developing serious infections or a low white blood cell count, with no additional health benefit.
Keep a list of all medications you are taking to show your doctor and pharmacist each time you are prescribed a new medication.
Can I use CIMZIA while family planning, during pregnancy or breastfeeding?
The use of adequate contraception should be considered for women of childbearing potential, but the need for treatment of the woman should also be taken into account.
Please speak to you Rheumatologist about CIMIZA® use when family planning, pregnant or breastfeeding. CIMZIA® should only be used during pregnancy if this is considered necessary by your Dermatologist or Rheumatologist. CIMZIA® can be used during breastfeeding and should be discussed with your Dermatologist or Rheumatologist.
What are some things I should tell my doctor before taking CIMZIA®?
Before taking CIMZIA®, it is very important to tell your doctor if you have or have had any of the following:
- an infection of any kind.
- new or worsening symptoms of heart failure (e.g. shortness of breath, or swelling of your feet).
- cancer (such as lymphoma).
- a blood disorder, or symptoms of a blood disorder such as persistent bruising, bleeding, or fever.
- any numbness or tingling.
- a disease that affects your nervous system such as multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barré syndrome or seizures.
How is CIMZIA® taken?
Each CIMZIA® pre-filled syringe or autoinjector contains one 200 mg dose. Depending on what your doctor has prescribed, you may be using more than one syringe or autoinjector at a time. CIMZIA® is given by an injection under the skin. Please use CIMZIA® exactly as prescribed by your doctor, and use it only as often as prescribed. Your doctor or nurse can show you how to inject CIMZIA® before you try to do it yourself. Call your case manager or doctor if you have any questions about giving yourself an injection.
For step-by-step instructions on how to inject CIMZIA®, please see the “Injection training” page, here.
What should I do if I take more CIMZIA® than I was told to take?
If you take more CIMZIA® than you were told to take, call your doctor.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
If you do forget to take your dose of CIMZIA® at your regularly scheduled time, do as follows:
- If your next scheduled dose is within 1 week, wait until your next scheduled dose.
- If your next scheduled dose is 1 week or longer away, inject the missed dose as soon as you realize you forgot it. Then take your next scheduled dose.
Be sure to take your medication exactly as prescribed. You should continue to use CIMZIA® as long as you and your doctor feel it is working for you. Talk to your doctor before discontinuing treatment with CIMZIA®.
When should I not take CIMZIA®?
Make sure that you do not use CIMZIA® if:
- any name other than “CIMZIA” is on the package and pre-filled syringe label.
- the expiration date on the container has passed.
- the packaging is torn or if the tamper evident seals are missing or broken on the top and bottom of the carton when you receive it. If this is the case, contact your pharmacist.
- the pre-filled syringe or autoinjector is frozen or has been left in direct sunlight.
- the medicine in the pre-filled syringe or autoinjector is not clear to pale yellow, or has large, coloured particles in it.
- the autoinjector has been dropped.
- If you have a severe infection, such as sepsis (an infection in the bloodstream), abscess, tuberculosis, or other serious infection, you must not take CIMZIA®. If you have heart failure that is moderate to severe, you must not take CIMZIA®.
What are the possible side effects of CIMZIA®?
Like all medications, CIMZIA® can cause side effects.
The most common side effects reported include:
- Upper respiratory tract infections (such as flu, cold)
- Other infections including pneumonia, bronchopneumonia (a bronchitis) and herpes zoster (shingles)
- Skin infections
- Liver function elevations (from blood tests)
Some people may experience a reaction at the site where the injection was given such as pain, redness, swelling, itching or bruising. Tell your doctor if you experience any side effects, including any that are not listed here. For more information about side effects (including those less common, but serious), refer to the Consumer Information Leaflet that you received with the CIMZIA® medication package. Read this leaflet carefully before taking the first dose of CIMZIA®.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information and be sure to tell your doctor if you experience any side effects, including ones that are not listed in this FAQ.
Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, cough, or flu-like symptoms, or if you develop any open cuts or sores on your body while taking CIMZIA®.
CIMZIA® and vaccinations
It is important to talk to your doctor if you have had or are scheduled to have any vaccinations. You should not receive certain (live) vaccines while taking CIMZIA®.
How do I store my medication?
Always keep CIMZIA®, your injection supplies, the puncture-proof container, and all other medications out of the reach of children.
Because CIMZIA® is sensitive to light, keep the autoinjector and syringes in their original packages.
CIMZIA® must be stored in a refrigerator at a temperature of 2oC to 8oC. The autoinjector and the syringes must be protected from freezing. When necessary, CIMZIA® may be stored at room temperature, up to 25oC, for a single period of a maximum 10 days with protection from light. At the end of this period CIMZIA® must be used or discarded.
Do not use CIMZIA® if the medication is expired (the last day of the month printed on the outside of the pre-filled syringe or autoinjector box), or if the liquid looks cloudy or discoloured.
The pre-filled syringes are glass. Do not drop or crush them.
What should I do if my autoinjector is damaged or fails to work properly?
If your autoinjector becomes damaged or does not work, contact your personal case manager or call CIMZIASolutions® at 1-800-908-5555.
What should I do when travelling?
When you are travelling, take only the amount of CIMZIA® you will need along with one extra dose. You should take the original prescription or a copy of it as well.
Pack your autoinjector or syringes in your carry-on luggage in their original packaging and refer to your pharmacist on information about how to package and carry them for travel. Once at your destination, place the CIMZIA® packages in a cool place, such as the refrigerator of your hotel room. CIMZIA® must be stored in a refrigerator at a temperature of 2oC to 8oC. The autoinjector and the syringes must be protected from freezing. When necessary, CIMZIA® may be stored at room temperature up to 25oC, for a single period of a maximum 10 days with protection from light. At the end of this period CIMZIA® must be used or discarded. Because CIMZIA® is sensitive to light, keep the autoinjector and syringes in their original packages.
Who should not take CIMZIA®?
CIMZIA® should not be used in children. You should not take CIMZIA® if you have had an allergic reaction to CIMZIA® or any of its ingredients. The medicine in CIMZIA® is called certolizumab pegol. CIMZIA® also contains non-medicines including water (for injection), salt (sodium chloride) and sodium acetate. CIMZIA® does not contain any preservatives.
If you have a severe infection, such as sepsis (an infection in the bloodstream), abscess, tuberculosis, or other serious infection, you must not take CIMZIA®. If you have heart failure that is moderate to severe, you must not take CIMZIA®.