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Risk of Serious Infections
(see BOXED WARNING)
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.
Treatment with CIMZIA should not be initiated in patients with an active infection, including clinically important localized infections. Patients greater than 65 years of age, patients with co-morbid conditions, and/or patients taking concomitant immunosuppressants (e.g. corticosteroids or methotrexate) may be at a greater risk of infection. The risks and benefits of treatment should be considered prior to initiating therapy in patients:
- with chronic or recurrent infection
- who have been exposed to tuberculosis
- with a history of an opportunistic infection
- who have resided or traveled in areas of endemic tuberculosis or endemic mycoses, such as histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis, or blastomycosis
- with underlying conditions that may predispose them to infection
Cases of reactivation of tuberculosis or new tuberculosis infections have been observed in patients receiving CIMZIA, including patients who have previously received treatment for latent or active tuberculosis. Patients should be evaluated for tuberculosis risk factors and tested for latent infection prior to initiating CIMZIA and periodically during therapy.
Treatment of latent tuberculosis infection prior to therapy with TNF-blocking agents has been shown to reduce the risk of tuberculosis reactivation during therapy. Induration of 5 mm or greater with tuberculin skin testing should be considered a positive test result when assessing if treatment for latent tuberculosis is needed prior to initiating CIMZIA, even for patients previously vaccinated with Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG).
Anti-tuberculosis therapy should also be considered prior to initiation of CIMZIA in patients with a past history of latent or active tuberculosis in whom an adequate course of treatment cannot be confirmed, and for patients with a negative test for latent tuberculosis but having risk factors for tuberculosis infection. Consultation with a physician with expertise in the treatment of tuberculosis is recommended to aid in the decision of whether initiating anti-tuberculosis therapy is appropriate for an individual patient.
Tuberculosis should be strongly considered in patients who develop a new infection during CIMZIA treatment, especially in patients who have previously or recently traveled to countries with a high prevalence of tuberculosis, or who have had close contact with a person with active tuberculosis.
Patients should be closely monitored for the development of signs and symptoms of infection during and after treatment with CIMZIA, including the development of tuberculosis in patients who tested negative for latent tuberculosis infection prior to initiating therapy. Tests for latent tuberculosis infection may also be falsely negative while on therapy with CIMZIA.
CIMZIA should be discontinued if a patient develops a serious infection or sepsis. A patient who develops a new infection during treatment with CIMZIA should be closely monitored, undergo a prompt and complete diagnostic workup appropriate for an immunocompromised patient, and appropriate antimicrobial therapy should be initiated.
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.
In the controlled portions of clinical studies of some TNF blockers, more cases of malignancies have been observed among patients receiving TNF blockers compared to control patients. During controlled and open-labeled portions of CIMZIA studies of Crohn's disease and other diseases, malignancies (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) were observed at a rate (95% confidence interval) of 0.5 (0.4, 0.7) per 100 patient-years among 4,650 CIMZIA-treated patients versus a rate of 0.6 (0.1, 1.7) per 100 patient-years among 1,319 placebo-treated patients. The size of the control group and limited duration of the controlled portions of the studies precludes the ability to draw firm conclusions.
Malignancies, some fatal, have been reported among children, adolescents, and young adults who received treatment with TNF-blocking agents (initiation of therapy ≤ 18 years of age), of which CIMZIA is a member. Approximately half the cases were lymphomas, including Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The other cases represented a variety of different malignancies and included rare malignancies usually associated with immunosuppression and malignancies that are not usually observed in children and adolescents. The malignancies occurred after a median of 30 months of therapy (range 1 to 84 months). Most of the patients were receiving concomitant immunosuppressants. These cases were reported post-marketing and are derived from a variety of sources including registries and spontaneous post-marketing reports.
In the controlled portions of clinical trials of all the TNF blockers, more cases of lymphoma have been observed among patients receiving TNF blockers compared to control patients. In controlled studies of CIMZIA for Crohn's disease and other investigational uses, there was one case of lymphoma among 2,657 Cimzia-treated patients and one case of Hodgkin's lymphoma among 1,319 placebo-treated patients.
In the CIMZIA RA clinical trials (placebo-controlled and open label) a total of three cases of lymphoma were observed among 2,367 patients. This is approximately 2-fold higher than expected in the general population. Patients with RA, particularly those with highly active disease, are at a higher risk for the development of lymphoma.
Rates in clinical studies for CIMZIA cannot be compared to the rates of clinical trials of other TNF blockers and may not predict the rates observed when CIMZIA is used in a broader patient population. Patients with Crohn's disease that require chronic exposure to immunosuppressant therapies may be at higher risk than the general population for the development of lymphoma, even in the absence of TNF blocker therapy [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. The potential role of TNF blocker therapy in the development of malignancies in adults is not known.
Cases of acute and chronic leukemia have been reported in association with post-marketing TNF-blocker use in RA and other indications. Even in the absence of TNF-blocker therapy, patients with RA may be at a higher risk (approximately 2-fold) than the general population for the development of leukemia.
Periodic skin examinations are recommended for all patients, particularly those with risk factors for skin cancer.
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 [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
The following symptoms that could be compatible with hypersensitivity reactions have been reported rarely following CIMZIA administration to patients: angioedema, dyspnea, hypotension, rash, serum sickness, and urticaria. 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 [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
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.
Test patients for HBV infection before initiating treatment with CIMZIA. For patients who test positive for HBV infection, consultation with a physician with expertise in the treatment of hepatitis B is recommended. Adequate data are not available on the safety or efficacy of treating patients who are carriers of HBV with anti-viral therapy in conjunction with TNF blocker therapy to prevent HBV reactivation. Patients who are carriers of HBV and require treatment with CIMZIA should be closely monitored for clinical and laboratory signs of active HBV infection throughout therapy and for several months following termination of therapy.
In patients who develop HBV reactivation, discontinue CIMZIA and initiate effective anti-viral therapy with appropriate supportive treatment. The safety of resuming TNF blocker therapy after HBV reactivation is controlled is not known. Therefore, exercise caution when considering resumption of CIMZIA therapy in this situation and monitor patients closely.
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 [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Rare reports of pancytopenia, including aplastic anemia, have been reported with TNF blockers. Adverse reactions of the hematologic system, including medically significant cytopenia (e.g., leukopenia, pancytopenia, thrombocytopenia) have been infrequently reported with CIMZIA [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. The causal relationship of these events to CIMZIA remains unclear.
Although no high risk group has been identified, exercise caution in patients being treated with CIMZIA who have ongoing, or a history of, significant hematologic abnormalities. Advise all patients to seek immediate medical attention if they develop signs and symptoms suggestive of blood dyscrasias or infection (e.g., persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, pallor) while on CIMZIA. Consider discontinuation of CIMZIA therapy in patients with confirmed significant hematologic abnormalities.
Use with Biological Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (Biological DMARDs)
Serious infections were seen in clinical studies with concurrent use of anakinra (an interleukin-1 antagonist) and another TNF blocker, etanercept, with no added benefit compared to entanercept alone. A higher risk of serious infections was also observed in combination use of TNF blockers with abatacept and rituximab. Because of the nature of the adverse events seen with this combination therapy, similar toxicities may also result from the use of CIMZIA in this combination. Therefore, the use of CIMZIA in combination with other biological DMARDs is not recommended [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
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 [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
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.
In a placebo-controlled clinical trial of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, no difference was detected in antibody response to vaccine between CIMZIA and placebo treatment groups when the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine and influenza vaccine were administered concurrently with CIMZIA. Similar proportions of patients developed protective levels of anti-vaccine antibodies between CIMZIA and placebo treatment groups; however patients receiving CIMZIA and concomitant methotrexate had a lower humoral response compared with patients receiving CIMZIA alone. The clinical significance of this is unknown.
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 [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. The safety and efficacy of CIMZIA in patients with immunosuppression has not been formally evaluated.
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide)
Advise patients of the potential risks and benefits of CIMZIA therapy. Be sure that patients receive the Medication Guide and allow them time to read it prior to starting CIMZIA therapy and to review it periodically. Any questions resulting from the patient's reading of the Medication Guide should be discussed. Because caution should be exercised in prescribing CIMZIA to patients with clinically important active infections, advise patients of the importance of informing their health care providers about all aspects of their health.
Inform patients that CIMZIA may lower the ability of the immune system to fight infections. Instruct patients of the importance of contacting their doctor if they develop any symptoms of infection, including tuberculosis and reactivation of hepatitis B virus infections.
Counsel patients about the possible risk of lymphoma and other malignancies while receiving CIMZIA.
Advise patients to seek immediate medical attention if they experience any symptoms of severe allergic reactions. The prefilled syringe components do not contain any latex or dry natural rubber.
Other Medical Conditions
Advise patients to report any signs of new or worsening medical conditions such as heart disease, neurological disease, or autoimmune disorders. Advise patients to report promptly any symptoms suggestive of a cytopenia such as bruising, bleeding, or persistent fever.
Instruction on Prefilled Syringe Self-Injection Technique
After proper training by a qualified healthcare professional in subcutaneous injection technique, a patient may self inject with CIMZIA using the Prefilled Syringe if a healthcare provider determines that it is appropriate. A patient's ability to administer CIMZIA subcutaneous injections should be checked to ensure correct administration. Suitable sites for injection include the thigh or abdomen. CIMZIA should be injected when the liquid is at room temperature.
Full injection instructions are provided in the Instructions for Use booklet for the Prefilled Syringe, packaged in each CIMZIA Prefilled Syringe kit.
To avoid needle-stick injury, patients and healthcare providers should not attempt to place the needle cover back on the syringe or otherwise recap the needle. Be sure to properly dispose of needles and syringes in a puncture-proof container, and instruct patients and caregivers in proper syringe and needle disposal technique. Actively discourage any reuse of the injection materials.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, and Impairment of Fertility
Long-term animal studies of CIMZIA have not been conducted to assess its carcinogenic potential. Certolizumab pegol was not genotoxic in the Ames test, the human peripheral blood lymphocytes chromosomal aberration assay, or the mouse bone marrow micronucleus assay.
Since certolizumab pegol does not cross-react with mouse or rat TNFα, reproduction studies were performed in rats using a rodent anti-murine TNFα pegylated Fab fragment (cTN3 PF), similar to certolizumab pegol. The cTN3 PF had no effects on the fertility and general reproductive performance of male and female rats at intravenous doses up 100 mg/kg, administered twice weekly.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category B
Adequate and well-controlled studies with CIMZIA have not been conducted in pregnant women.
Certolizumab pegol plasma concentrations obtained from 10 women treated with CIMZIA during pregnancy and their newborn infants demonstrated low placental transfer of certolizumab pegol. CIMZIA may be eliminated at a slower rate in exposed infants than in adult patients. No fetal harm was observed in animal reproduction studies. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, this drug should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.
There is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to CIMZIA during pregnancy. To enroll, healthcare providers or patients can call 1-877-311-8972.
In an independent clinical study conducted in 10 pregnant women with Crohn´s disease treated with CIMZIA, certolizumab pegol concentrations were measured in maternal blood as well as in cord and infant blood (n=12) at the day of birth. The last dose of CIMZIA (400 mg for every mother) was given on average 19 days prior to delivery (range 5-42 days). Plasma certolizumab pegol concentrations were < 0.41 –1.66 μg/mL in cord blood, < 0.41 – 1.58 μg/mL in infant blood, and 1.87–59.57 μg/mL in maternal blood. Plasma certolizumab pegol concentrations were lower (by at least 75%) in the infants than in mothers suggesting low placental transfer of certolizumab pegol. In one infant, the plasma certolizumab pegol concentration declined from 1.02 to 0.84 μg /mL over 4 weeks suggesting that CIMZIA may be eliminated at a slower rate in infants than adults.
Because certolizumab pegol does not cross-react with mouse or rat TNFα, reproduction studies were performed in rats using a rodent anti-murine TNFα pegylated Fab' fragment (cTN3 PF) similar to certolizumab pegol. Reproduction studies have been performed in rats at doses up to 100 mg/kg and have revealed no evidence of impaired fertility or harm to the fetus due to cTN3 PF.
It is not known whether certolizumab pegol is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from CIMZIA, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
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 infant. Although certolizumab pegol levels were low in 12 infants exposed to CIMZIA in utero, the clinical significance of these low levels is unknown. Additional data available from one exposed infant suggests 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. Risks and benefits should be considered prior to vaccinating (live or live-attenuated) exposed infants.
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 [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/14/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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