Wanted to get this up before I head to work, so I’m re-posting part of an article that appears on ArthritisToday.com:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given its nod to certolizumab pegol (Cimzia), a drug previously approved to treat Crohn’s disease, to also treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.
Certolizumab pegol belongs to a class of biologic drugs that block an inflammatory protein called tumor necrosis factor alpha, or TNF-alpha. Other drugs in this category include etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira) and golimumab (Simponi), which was approved last month.
Cimzia’s molecule is slightly different from the other drugs in its class, however, because it is pegylated, or coated, a process that, in theory, should help it slip by the body’s immune system more easily and may make it less likely to cause an infusion reaction.
Pegylation may also help the drug work more quickly. According to UCB, the Belgian company that makes certolizumab pegol, when used in conjunction with methotrexate, patients in clinical trials for Cimzia reported a reduction in symptoms as early as the first week.
Certolizumab pegol is administered with at-home injections, which can be given every two or four weeks.