CIMZIA (certolizumab pegol) for injection

CIMZIA (certolizumab pegol) for injection

CIMZIA (certolizumab pegol) for injection

Certolizumab pegol is a TNF blocker. CIMZIA is a recombinant, humanized antibody Fab’ fragment, with specificity for human tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), conjugated to an approximately 40kDa polyethylene glycol (PEG2MAL40K). The Fab’ fragment is manufactured in E. coli and is subsequently subjected to purification and conjugation to PEG2MAL40K, to generate certolizumab pegol. The Fab’ fragment is composed of a light chain with 214 amino acids and a heavy chain with 229 amino acids. The molecular weight of certolizumab pegol is approximately 91 kiloDaltons.

CIMZIA (certolizumab pegol) for injection is supplied as a sterile white, lyophilized powder in a single-dose vial for subcutaneous use. After reconstitution of the lyophilized powder with 1 mL Sterile Water for Injection, USP, the final concentration is 200 mg/mL with a deliverable volume of 1 mL (200 mg) and a pH of approximately 5.2. Each single-dose vial provides 200 mg certolizumab pegol, lactic acid (0.9 mg), polysorbate (0.1 mg), and sucrose (100 mg).

CIMZIA (certolizumab pegol) injection is supplied as a sterile, clear to opalescent, colorless to pale yellow solution that may contain particulates in a single-dose prefilled syringe for subcutaneous use. Each prefilled syringe delivers 1 mL of solution containing 200 mg certolizumab pegol, sodium acetate (1.36 mg), sodium chloride (7.31 mg), and Water for Injection, USP.

Indications and usage

CIMZIA is a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker indicated for:

  • Reducing signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease and maintaining clinical response in adult patients with moderately to severely active disease who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy
  • Treatment of adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis
  • Treatment of adult patients with active psoriatic arthritis.
  • Treatment of adults with active ankylosing spondylitis
  • Treatment of adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy

Dosage and administration

CIMZIA is administered by subcutaneous injection. The initial dose of CIMZIA is 400 mg (given as two subcutaneous injections of 200 mg)(2).

Crohn’s Disease

  • 400 mg initially and at Weeks 2 and 4. If response occurs, follow with 400 mg every four weeks

Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • 400 mg initially and at Weeks 2 and 4, followed by 200 mg every other week; for maintenance dosing, 400 mg every 4 weeks can be considered

Psoriatic Arthritis

  • 400 mg initially and at week 2 and 4, followed by 200 mg every other week; for maintenance dosing, 400 mg every 4 weeks can be considered.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

  • 400 mg (given as 2 subcutaneous injections of 200 mg each) initially and at weeks 2 and 4, followed by 200 mg every other week or 400 mg every 4 weeks.

Plaque Psoriasis

  • 400 mg (given as 2 subcutaneous injections of 200 mg each) every other week. For some patients (with body weight ≤ 90 kg), a dose of 400 mg (given as 2 subcutaneous injections of 200 mg each) initially and at Weeks 2 and 4, followed by 200 mg every other week may be considered.


CIMZIA is contraindicated in patients with a history of hypersensitivity reaction to certolizumab pegol or to any of the excipients. Reactions have included angioedema, anaphylactoid reaction, serum sickness, and urticaria.

Adverse reactions

The most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥7% and higher than placebo): upper respiratory tract infection, rash, and urinary tract infection

Warnings and precautions

Risk of Serious Infections: Patients treated with CIMZIA are at an increased risk for developing serious infections involving various organ systems and sites that may lead to hospitalization or death.

Opportunistic infections due to bacterial, mycobacterial, invasive fungal, viral, parasitic, or other opportunistic pathogens including aspergillosis, blastomycosis, candidiasis, coccidioidomycosis, histoplasmosis, legionellosis, listeriosis, pneumocystosis and tuberculosis have been reported with TNF blockers. Patients have frequently presented with disseminated rather than localized disease.

Tuberculosis: Cases of reactivation of tuberculosis or new tuberculosis infections have been observed in patients receiving CIMZIA, including patients who have previously or concomitantly received treatment for latent or active tuberculosis. Reports included cases of pulmonary and extrapulmonary (i.e., disseminated) tuberculosis. Evaluate patients for tuberculosis risk factors and test for latent infection prior to initiating CIMZIA and periodically during therapy.

Invasive Fungal Infections: For patients who reside or travel in regions where mycoses are endemic, invasive fungal infection should be suspected if they develop a serious systemic illness. Appropriate empiric antifungal therapy should be considered while a diagnostic workup is being performed. Antigen and antibody testing for histoplasmosis may be negative in some patients with active infection. When feasible, the decision to administer empiric antifungal therapy in these patients should be made in consultation with a physician with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of invasive fungal infections and should take into account both the risk for severe fungal infection and risks of antifungal therapy.

Heart Failure: Cases of worsening congestive heart failure (CHF) and new onset CHF have been reported with TNF blockers, including CIMZIA. CIMZIA has not been formally studied in patients with CHF; however, in clinical studies in patients with CHF with another TNF blocker, worsening congestive heart failure (CHF) and increased mortality due to CHF were observed. Exercise caution in patients with heart failure and monitor them carefully.

Hypersensitivity Reactions: The following symptoms that could be compatible with hypersensitivity reactions have been reported rarely following CIMZIA administration to patients: angioedema, anaphylactoid reaction, dyspnea, hypotension, rash, serum sickness, and urticaria. Some of these reactions occurred after the first administration of CIMZIA. If such reactions occur, discontinue further administration of CIMZIA and institute appropriate therapy. There are no data on the risks of using CIMZIA in patients who have experienced a severe hypersensitivity reaction towards another TNF blocker; in these patients caution is needed

Hepatitis B Virus Reactivation: Use of TNF blockers, including CIMZIA, has been associated with reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in patients who are chronic carriers of this virus. In some instances, HBV reactivation occurring in conjunction with TNF blocker therapy has been fatal. The majority of reports have occurred in patients concomitantly receiving other medications that suppress the immune system, which may also contribute to HBV reactivation

Neurologic Reactions: Use of TNF blockers, of which CIMZIA is a member, has been associated with rare cases of new onset or exacerbation of clinical symptoms and/or radiographic evidence of central nervous system demyelinating disease, including multiple sclerosis, and with peripheral demyelinating disease, including Guillain-Barré syndrome. Exercise caution in considering the use of CIMZIA in patients with preexisting or recent-onset central or peripheral nervous system demyelinating disorders. Rare cases of neurological disorders, including seizure disorder, optic neuritis, and peripheral neuropathy have been reported in patients treated with CIMZIA

Autoimmunity: Treatment with CIMZIA may result in the formation of autoantibodies and rarely, in the development of a lupus-like syndrome. If a patient develops symptoms suggestive of a lupus-like syndrome following treatment with CIMZIA, discontinue treatment

Immunizations: Patients treated with CIMZIA may receive vaccinations, except for live or live attenuated vaccines. No data are available on the response to live vaccinations or the secondary transmission of infection by live vaccines in patients receiving CIMZIA.

Immunosuppression: Since TNF mediates inflammation and modulates cellular immune responses, the possibility exists for TNF blockers, including CIMZIA, to affect host defenses against infections and malignancies. The impact of treatment with CIMZIA on the development and course of malignancies, as well as active and/or chronic infections, is not fully understood

Lymphoma and other malignancies, some fatal, have been reported in children and adolescent patients treated with TNF blockers, of which CIMZIA is a member. CIMZIA is not indicated for use in pediatric patients.

Drug interactions

Use with Anakinra, Abatacept, Rituximab, and Natalizumab: An increased risk of serious infections has been seen in clinical studies of other TNF-blocking agents used in combination with anakinra or abatacept, with no added benefit. Formal drug interaction studies have not been performed with rituximab or natalizumab. Because of the nature of the adverse events seen with these combinations with TNF blocker therapy, similar toxicities may also result from the use of CIMZIA in these combinations. There is not enough information to assess the safety and efficacy of such combination therapy. Therefore, the use of CIMZIA in combination with anakinra, abatacept, rituximab, or natalizumab is not recommended

Live Vaccines: Avoid use of live (including attenuated) vaccines concurrently with CIMZIA

Use in specific populations

Pregnancy: Limited data from the ongoing pregnancy registry on use of CIMZIA in pregnant women are not sufficient to inform a risk of major birth defects or other adverse pregnancy outcomes. However, certolizumab pegol plasma concentrations obtained from two studies of CIMZIA use during the third trimester of pregnancy demonstrated that placental transfer of certolizumab pegol was negligible in most infants at birth, and low in other infants at birth. There are risks to the mother and fetus associated with active rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn’s disease.

Published data suggest that the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes in women with rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn’s disease is correlated with maternal disease activity and that active disease increases the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, including fetal loss, preterm delivery (before 37 weeks of gestation), low birth weight (less than 2500 g) and small for gestational age birth.

Due to its inhibition of TNFα, CIMZIA administered during pregnancy could affect immune responses in the in utero-exposed newborn and infant. The clinical significance of BLQ or low levels is unknown for in utero-exposed infants. Additional data available from one exposed infant suggest that CIMZIA may be eliminated at a slower rate in infants than in adults. The safety of administering live or live-attenuated vaccines in exposed infants is unknown.

Lactation: In a multicenter clinical study of 17 lactating women treated with CIMZIA at 200 mg every 2 weeks or 400 mg every 4 weeks, minimal certolizumab pegol concentrations were observed in breast milk. No serious adverse reactions were noted in the 17 infants in the study. There are no data on the effects on milk production. In a separate study, certolizumab pegol concentrations were not detected in the plasma of 9 breastfed infants at 4 weeks post-partum. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for CIMZIA and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from CIMZIA or from the underlying maternal condition.

Pediatric Use: Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established. Due to its inhibition of TNFα, CIMZIA administered during pregnancy could affect immune responses in the in utero-exposed newborn and infan

Geriatric Use: Clinical studies of CIMZIA did not include sufficient numbers of patients aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. Population pharmacokinetic analyses of patients enrolled in CIMZIA clinical studies concluded that there was no apparent difference in drug concentration regardless of age. Because there is a higher incidence of infections in the elderly population in general, use caution when treating the elderly with CIMZIA


The maximum tolerated dose of certolizumab pegol has not been established. Doses of up to 800 mg subcutaneous and 20 mg/kg intravenous have been administered without evidence of dose-limiting toxicities. In cases of overdosage, it is recommended that patients be monitored closely for any adverse reactions or effects, and appropriate symptomatic treatment instituted immediately.

Mechanism of Action

Certolizumab pegol binds to human TNFα with a KD of 90pM. TNF is a key pro-inflammatory cytokine with a central role in inflammatory processes. Certolizumab pegol selectively neutralizes TNFα (IC90 of 4 ng/mL for inhibition of human TNFα in the in vitro L929 murine fibrosarcoma cytotoxicity assay) but does not neutralize lymphotoxin α (TNF). Certolizumab pegol cross-reacts poorly with TNF from rodents and rabbits, therefore in vivo efficacy was evaluated using animal models in which human TNFα was the physiologically active molecule.

Certolizumab pegol was shown to neutralize membrane-associated and soluble human TNF in a dose-dependent manner. Incubation of monocytes with certolizumab pegol resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition of LPS-induced TNFα and IL-1β production in human monocytes.

Certolizumab pegol does not contain a fragment crystallizable (Fc) region, which is normally present in a complete antibody, and therefore does not fix complement or cause antibody-dependent cellmediated cytotoxicity in vitro. It does not induce apoptosis in vitro in human peripheral blood-derived monocytes or lymphocytes, nor does certolizumab pegol induce neutrophil degranulation.

A tissue reactivity study was carried out ex vivo to evaluate potential cross-reactivity of certolizumab pegol with cryosections of normal human tissues. Certolizumab pegol showed no reactivity with a designated standard panel of normal human tissues.

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