Cimzia or certolizumab pegol is a drug for treatment of autoimmune diseases. It belongs to tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors family of drugs. Recently, Cimzia, along with several other TNF blockers, were associated with an increased risk of cancer.

Cimzia is the brand name for certolizumab. It reduces inflammation in the body. It is used for treatment of the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. It is also used for treatment of moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis in adults. It is also used for other purposes. It was approved by FDA in April 2008.

Cimzia is a TNF blocker. It is used to treat inflammation in Crohn’s disease. In Crohn’s disease the digestive tract becomes inflamed and adversely affects the gastrointestinal tract. It is also used to reduce or prevent inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. It blocks TNF and reduces or prevents destruction of joints.

30 cases of cancer among children consuming the drugs were reported during a ten-year period from 1998 to 2008. It forced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to launch an investigation into the TNF blockers.

TNF Blockers Under Investigation

FDA approved TNF inhibitors in 1998. Cimzia was one of them. These TNF blockers were called miracle drug as they reduced inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. Later they were linked with life threatening side effects. They are linked with increased risk of developing cancer in children and adults.

Following TNF blockers are under investigation.

  • Remicade (infliximab)
  • Humira (adalimumab)
  • Enbrel (etanercept)
  • Cimzia (certolizumab pegol)

The side effects of Cimzia include headache, fever, nausea, chills, myalgia, diarrhea, abdominal pain, upper respiratory infection and reactions to the injection area. It has been also associated with severe side effects such as allergic reactions such as hives, difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat, sweating, chills and tired feeling, feeling short of breath, swelling of ankles or feet, chest pain, swollen glands in neck, armpits, or groin, seizure or convulsions, congestive heart failure, diseases of the nervous system, reduced levels of platelets and red blood cells in the blood, etc. It is being investigated for the potential risk of cancer as well as the risk of developing life-threatening infections.

FDA through its investigative study has found an alleged link between TNF inhibitors including Cimzia and an increase in developing cancerous cells. But these drugs have not been recalled yet. The label of this drug has warning regarding development of cancer and there is no revision in the label as of now.

Cimzia is manufactured by pharmaceutical company UCB. The manufacturers are through with a 10-year study to better understand the Cimzia. This investigation of Cimzia by FDA has triggered many Cimzia lawsuits against UCB as the study backs the claim of patients that use of Cimzia has caused cancer or other life threatening infections in them. Cimzia has caused many patients using this drug to suffer from many other severe side effects as well.