Certolizumab injection is in a class of medications called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors. It works by blocking the activity of TNF, a substance in the body that causes inflammation. Certolizumab injection is used to relieve the symptoms of certain autoimmune disorders (conditions in which the immune system attacks healthy parts of the body and causes pain, swelling, and damage) including the following:
- Crohn’s disease (a condition in which the body attacks the lining of the digestive tract, causing pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and fever) that has not improved when treated with other medications,
- rheumatoid arthritis (a condition in which the body attacks its own joints, causing pain, swelling, and loss of function),
- psoriatic arthritis (a condition that causes joint pain and swelling and scales on the skin),
- active ankylosing spondylitis (a condition in which the body attacks the joints of the spine and other areas causing pain, swelling, and joint damage) with changes seen on X-ray,
- active non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (a condition in which the body attacks the joints of the spine and other areas causing pain and signs of swelling), but without changes seen on X-ray,
- plaque psoriasis (a skin disease in which red, scaly patches form on some areas of the body) in people who may benefit from medications or phototherapy (a treatment that involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light).
Side Effects Of Certolizumab Injection
Certolizumab injection may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- redness, itching, pain, or swelling at the site of injection
- back pain
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the WARNING section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical help:
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- shortness of breath
- difficulty swallowing or breathing
- chest pain
- sudden weight gain
- hot flashes
- dizziness or fainting
- rash, especially on the cheeks or arms that worsens in the sun
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- pale skin
- blistering skin
- extreme tiredness
- numbness or tingling
- problems with vision
- weakness in the arms or legs
- joint pain
- loss of appetite
- red scaly patches and/or pus-filled bumps on the skin
Adults who receive certolizumab injection may be more likely to develop skin cancer, lymphoma, and other types of cancer than people who do not receive certolizumab injection. Talk to your doctor about the risks of receiving this medication.
Certolizumab injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before using certolizumab injection:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to certolizumab injection; any other medications, latex or rubber, or any of the ingredients in certolizumab injection. Ask your pharmacist or check the medication guide for a list of the ingredients. If you will be using the prefilled syringe, tell your doctor if you or the person who will be injecting the medication is allergic to latex.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the medications listed in the WARNING section. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had a disease that affects your nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis (MS; a disease in which the nerves do not function properly causing weakness, numbness, loss of muscle coordination, and problems with vision, speech, and bladder control) Guillain-Barré syndrome (weakness, tingling, and possible paralysis due to sudden nerve damage) or optic neuritis (inflammation of the nerve that sends messages from the eye to the brain); numbness, burning, or tingling in any part of your body; seizures; heart failure; any type of cancer; or bleeding problems or diseases that affect your blood.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using certolizumab injection, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using certolizumab injection.
- do not have any vaccinations without talking to your doctor.
Certolizumab Injection Dosage
Certolizumab injection comes as a powder to be mixed with sterile water and injected subcutaneously (just under the skin) by a doctor or nurse in a medical office and as a pre-filled syringe that you can inject subcutaneously by yourself at home. When certolizumab injection is used to treat Crohn’s disease, it is usually given every two weeks for the first three doses and then every four weeks for as long as treatment continues. When certolizumab injection is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, or axial spondyloarthritis, it is usually given every 2 weeks for the first three doses and then every 2 or 4 weeks for as long as treatment continues. When certolizumab injection is used to treat plaque psoriasis, it is usually given every 2 weeks. If you are injecting certolizumab injection yourself, follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. Do not inject more or less certolizumab than prescribed by your doctor.
If you will be injecting certolizumab injection by yourself at home or having a friend or relative inject the medication for you, ask your doctor to show you or the person who will be injecting the medication how to inject it. You and the person who will be injecting the medication should also read the written instructions for use that come with the medication.
Before you open the package containing your medication, check to be sure that the package is not torn, that the tamper-evident seals on the top and bottom of the package are not missing or broken, and that the expiration date printed on the package has not passed. After you open the package, look closely at the liquid in the syringe. The liquid should be clear or pale yellow and should not contain large, colored particles. Call your pharmacist, if there are any problems with the package or the syringe. Do not inject the medication.
You may inject certolizumab injection anywhere on your stomach or thighs except your navel (belly button) and the area 2 inches around it. Do not inject the medication into skin that is tender, bruised, red, or hard, or that has scars or stretch marks. Do not inject the medication in the same spot more than once. Choose a new spot at least 1 inch away from a spot that you have used before each time you inject the medication. If your doctor has told you to inject two syringes of certolizumab for each dose, choose a different spot for each injection.
Do not reuse certolizumab prefilled syringes and do not recap the syringes after use. Discard used syringes in a puncture-resistant container. Ask your pharmacist how to discard the container.
Certolizumab injection may help to control your symptoms, but it will not cure your condition. Do not stop using certolizumab injection without talking to your doctor.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.