What Are the Side Effects of Cimzia?

Syringe
Cimzia is given by injection, and might be done in a doctor's office, but it is typically done by most patients at home. Image © GIPhoto / Stock Cultura / Getty Images

Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) is a type of drug known as a TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor alpha) blocker. Cimzia is used to treat Crohn's disease (a form of inflammatory bowel disease) because various studies have shown the benefit of blocking TNF-alpha in Crohn’s disease.

Most Important Information to Know:

Patients should be tested for tuberculosis (TB) before receiving Cimzia, and be monitored for TB during treatment.

Patients who are positive for TB should begin treatment for TB before receiving this drug.

Cimzia is associated with an increase in the risk of infections. Patients receiving Cimzia should avoid people with contagious illnesses such as colds or the flu. Any sign or symptom of an infection (such as fever, chills, or a sore throat) should be reported to your physician immediately.

Cimzia is also associated with the development of cancer, specifically lymphoma. Patients should discuss the risk of cancer with their doctor before receiving Cimzia.

More Common Side Effects:

  • Irritation at the injection site
  • Joint pains
  • Upper respiratory tract infections such as colds or the flu
  • Urinary tract infections

Less Common Side Effects:

  • Allergic reaction (hives, skin rash, problems breathing)
  • A rash on the cheeks or the arms that worsen in the sun
  • Bruising and bleeding easily
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in the ankles or the feet
  • Vision problems
  • Weakness in the extremities

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor. This information is meant only as a guideline -- always consult a physician or pharmacist for complete information about prescription medications.

Sources:

UCB. ”Possible Side Effects.” Cimzia.com 2008. 31 Jul 2013.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. ”Certolizumab Injection.” MedlinePlus 1 Sept 2008. 31 Jul 2013.

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