Saturday, June 21, 2008

A new drug treatment for Crohn's disease called Cimzia

Certolizumab pegol (Cimzia) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of Crohn's disease. Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in which the lining of your digestive tract becomes inflamed, causing severe diarrhea and abdominal pain. Cimzia is prescribed for people with moderate to severe Crohn's who haven't been helped by other treatments.

Like the Crohn's medications infliximab and adalumimab, Cimzia works by inhibiting a protein produced by your immune system known as tumor necrosis factor (TNF). TNF plays an important role in causing inflammation and complications of Crohn's disease.

When you first start taking Cimzia, you get one injection every two weeks. After three injections — if your doctor determines it's working for you — you receive just one injection a month.

Cimzia is effective in reducing the signs and symptoms of Crohn's, but it also carries risks. The most common side effects when taking Cimzia are headaches, upper respiratory infections, abdominal pain, injection site reactions and nausea. Like other medications that inhibit TNF, Cimzia affects your immune system and puts you at increased risk of becoming seriously ill with certain infections, such as tuberculosis. If you get an infection due to Cimzia, you'll have to stop taking the drug right away.