Certolizumab pegol is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation of the joints). It helps reduce pain and swelling by reducing inflammation in your joints.
This medicine is also used to treat psoriatic arthritis (joint pain and swelling with inflammation of the skin) and ankylosing spondylitis (inflammation of the spine).
Certolizumab pegol may also be used to treat Crohn's disease (also known as inflammatory bowel disease), which causes inflammation in the lower digestive tract (bowel).
Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you. If you or a caregiver had been given the proper training on the preparation and injection techniques of Certolizumab pegol, you or your caregiver may do the administration.
Use this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not administer more or less than instructed by your doctor.
This medicine is available as a pre-filled pen or syringe. Make sure you know how to use the specific device you have been given. If you have problems or do not understand the instructions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Certolizumab pegol is given subcutaneously (into the fatty layer under the skin, usually in the abdomen or thighs).
Remember to rotate the injection sites. Do not inject into the same area all the time. New injection sites should be at least 1.5 inches away from the previous injection site. Do not inject in areas where the skin is tender, bruised, red, hard or not intact.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on the type and severity of your condition.
This medicine must be administered regularly for it to be effective. Continue using Certolizumab pegol even when you feel better. Do not stop using it unless instructed by the doctor.
Ensure that you keep all appointments with your doctor so that you do not miss any dose. Your doctor also needs to regularly monitor your response to Certolizumab pegol.
If you miss an appointment or miss an injection, alert your doctor or nurse. A replacement appointment or injection should be given as soon as possible.
If you or a caregiver had been trained to administer this medicine, inject the missed dose as soon as you remember and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to administer your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- tuberculosis or TB, or any other severe infections
- moderate or severe heart failure (weakness and inability of the heart to pump blood)
as this medicine may not be suitable for you.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- history of a serious infection or an infection that keeps on coming back
- history of TB or hepatitis B infection, or have been in close contact to someone with these condition
- residing, lived or travelled in an area where certain infections are common
- blood disorder such as low platelet, red or white blood cell
- damaged nerve fibres in your brain or spinal cord
- mild heart failure
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Inform your doctor if you have been recently vaccinated. Do not receive any vaccinations without first asking your doctor.
If you are going for an operation, including minor surgery and dental work, inform your doctor or dentist that you are using Certolizumab pegol.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Screening for infections such as TB or hepatitis B, and risk assessment for cancer may be needed to check the appropriateness of Certolizumab pegol therapy.
- You may need to have routine blood tests (e.g. complete blood count). Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have these tests.
- Regular monitoring of signs and symptoms of infections or toxicity may be needed while you are being treated with this medicine.
Certolizumab pegol may cause dizziness with sensations of spinning or some problems with your eyesight. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert or need to see clearly.
Other side effects include any of the following: headache, nausea, back or joint pain, hair loss, and itchiness, redness, pain and swelling at the site of injection.
This medicine will cause the level of your red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to drop.
Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body. A fall in the level of red blood cells may make you feel tired and worn out.
White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick.
Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Alert your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- rashes, breathlessness, swelling of the face, lips, mouth or throat
- signs of infection e.g. fever, chills, night sweats, flu-like symptoms, sore throat, mouth sore, tiredness, persistent cough, painful or burning sensation when urinating
- signs of nerve problems e.g. change in your vision, sensitivity to heat or cold, decreased sense of touch, numbness or tingling sensation in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
- shortness of breath, chest pain, abnormal heartbeat, swelling of the legs or feet, sudden weight gain, passing out
- growth in your skin, bump or open sore that doesn’t heal
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are using other medicines used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (e.g. abatacept, anakinra).
Avoid vaccinations during treatment or 3 months after treatment with Certolizumab pegol. It is recommended for children to be up to date with all vaccinations before using this medicine.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a refrigerator, between 2-8 ºC. Do not allow to freeze. If frozen, this medicine will become ineffective and should not be used. Protect from light.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.