What is Certolizumab?

Certolizumab is a targeted disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) that is used to reduce inflammation produced by the body. In certain diseases the immune system is over active, this can target healthy tissues such as joints. Certolizumab works on the inflammatory pathway to inhibit proteins called tumour necrosis factors or TNF, reducing the symptoms you get from arthritis such as pain and joint swelling and reduces the chance of further damage to the joints.

Certolizumab is known as an anti-TNF biological from its effects, there are other medications in this group such as adalimumab or etanercept.


What is Certolizumab used for?

Certolizumab is used for the treatments of inflammatory diseases such as:


How is it taken?

Certolizumab is taken as an injection into the layer of fat between the skin and muscle. This is called a subcutaneous injection and is usually given into the thigh or abdomen.

It is initially given as a loading dose of 400mg (2 injections of 200mg) on a fortnightly basis for the first 3 doses. It is then dropped down to 200mg (1 injection of 200mg) every fortnight from dose 4.

The injection device is available as a pen or prefilled syringe. It should be stored in the fridge at home.


Certolizumab can be given alongside other DMARDs such as methotrexate, or taken on its own.


The injections can take up to 12 weeks to have an effect. When you first start taking it you will need your bloods checked after 3 months of taking it, you will then require bloods to be taken once a year. If you are on other medication, you must still attend for blood monitoring for them.


If you symptoms are well controlled, your doses can be gradually reduced to every 3 or 4 weeks.


Side effects 

There are a few possible side effects that can occur in a small number of people that take certolizumab, these include:



Cautions of use

Interactions with other medications

Contraindications of other conditions


During pregnancy and breastfeeding




Useful Links

Versus Arthritis: http://www.versusarthritis.org