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Clinical Trials Experience
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice.
The safety data described below are based on 5 pooled, randomized, double-blind, controlled Phase 3 trials in patients with RA, PsA, and AS (Trials RA-1, RA-2, RA-3, PsA, and AS) [see Clinical Studies]. These 5 trials included 639 control-treated patients and 1659 SIMPONI-treated patients including 1089 with RA, 292 with PsA, and 278 with AS. The safety data in 1233 SIMPONI-treated patients with ulcerative colitis from 3 pooled, randomized, double-blind, controlled Phase 2/3 trials are also described below (Trials UC-1, UC-2, and UC-3) [see Clinical Studies]. The proportion of patients who discontinued treatment due to adverse reactions in the controlled Phase 3 trials through Week 16 in RA, PsA and AS was 2% for SIMPONI-treated patients and 3% for placebo-treated patients. The most common adverse reactions leading to discontinuation of SIMPONI in the controlled Phase 3 trials in RA, PsA and AS through Week 16 were sepsis (0.2%), alanine aminotransferase increased (0.2%), and aspartate aminotransferase increased (0.2%). The most common adverse drug reactions leading to discontinuation through Week 60 of the UC trials in patients who received SIMPONI induction and 100 mg during maintenance compared with patients who received SIMPONI induction and placebo during maintenance were tuberculosis (0.3% vs 0.6%) and anemia (0.3% vs 0%), respectively.
The most serious adverse reactions were:
Upper respiratory tract infection and nasopharyngitis were the most common adverse reactions reported in the combined Phase 3 RA, PsA and AS trials through Week 16, occurring in 7% and 6% of SIMPONI-treated patients as compared with 6% and 5% of control-treated patients, respectively.
In controlled Phase 3 trials through Week 16 in RA, PsA, and AS, infections were observed in 28% of SIMPONI-treated patients compared to 25% of control-treated patients. For serious infections, see the WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS section. In the controlled Phase 2/3 trial of SIMPONI induction through Week 6 in UC, the rates of infections were similar in SIMPONI 200/100 mg-treated patients and placebo-treated patients, or approximately 12%. Through Week 60, the incidence per patient year of infections was similar in patients who received SIMPONI induction and 100 mg during maintenance compared with patients who received SIMPONI induction and placebo during the maintenance portion of the UC trial.
In the controlled Phase 2/3 trial of SIMPONI induction through Week 6, no cases of demyelination were observed in SIMPONI 200/100 mg-treated patients or placebo-treated patients. Through Week 60, there were no cases of demyelination in the SIMPONI 100 mg group during maintenance. One case of CNS demyelination was observed in the placebo maintenance group in a patient who received SIMPONI 400/200 mg during induction.
Liver Enzyme Elevations
There have been reports of severe hepatic reactions including acute liver failure in patients receiving TNF-blockers. In controlled Phase 3 trials of SIMPONI in patients with RA, PsA, and AS through Week 16, ALT elevations ≥ 5 x ULN occurred in 0.2% of control-treated patients and 0.7% of SIMPONI-treated patients and ALT elevations ≥ 3 x ULN occurred in 2% of control-treated patients and 2% of SIMPONI-treated patients. Since many of the patients in the Phase 3 trials for RA, PsA, and AS were also taking medications that cause liver enzyme elevations (e.g., NSAIDs, MTX), the relationship between SIMPONI and liver enzyme elevation is not clear.
In Phase 2/3 UC trials, the incidence of ALT elevations ≥ 5 x ULN was similar in SIMPONI-treated patients and placebo-treated patients, or approximately 1%, with an average duration of follow-up of 46 weeks and 18 weeks, respectively. ALT elevations ≥ 3 x ULN occurred in 2.0% of SIMPONI-treated patients compared with 1.5% of placebo-treated patients with an average duration of follow-up of 46 weeks and 18 weeks, respectively.
Autoimmune Disorders and Autoantibodies
The use of TNF-blockers, including SIMPONI, has been associated with the formation of autoantibodies and, rarely, with the development of a lupus-like syndrome. In the controlled Phase 3 trials in patients with RA, PsA, and AS through Week 14, there was no association of SIMPONI treatment and the development of newly positive anti-dsDNA antibodies. In Phase 3 trials in RA, PsA, and AS through 1 year of follow up, 4.0% of SIMPONI-treated patients and 2.6% of control patients were newly ANA-positive (at titers of 1:160 or greater). The frequency of anti-dsDNA antibodies at 1 year of follow up was uncommon in patients who were anti-dsDNA negative at baseline. Through Week 60 of the UC trials, 3.5% of patients who received SIMPONI induction and 100 mg during maintenance were newly ANA-positive (at titers of 1:160 or greater) compared with 3.5% of patients who received SIMPONI induction and placebo during the maintenance portion of the UC trial. The frequency of anti-dsDNA antibodies at 1 year of follow up in patients who were anti-dsDNA negative at baseline was 0.5% in patients receiving SIMPONI induction and 100 mg during maintenance compared with 0% in patients who received SIMPONI induction and placebo during maintenance.
Injection Site Reactions
In controlled Phase 3 trials through Week 16 in RA, PsA and AS, 6% of SIMPONI-treated patients had injection site reactions compared with 2% of control-treated patients. The majority of the injection site reactions were mild and the most frequent manifestation was injection site erythema.
In the controlled Phase 2/3 trial through Week 6 in UC, 3.4% of SIMPONI-treated patients had injection site reactions compared with 1.5% in control-treated patients. The majority of the injection site reactions were mild and moderate and the most frequent manifestation was injection site erythema.
In controlled Phase 2 and 3 trials in RA, PsA, AS, and Phase 2/3 UC trials, no patients treated with SIMPONI developed anaphylactic reactions.
Antibodies to SIMPONI were detected in 57 (4%) of SIMPONI-treated patients across the Phase 3 RA, PsA, and AS trials through Week 24. Similar rates were observed in each of the three indications. Patients who received SIMPONI with concomitant MTX had a lower proportion of antibodies to SIMPONI than patients who received SIMPONI without MTX (approximately 2% versus 7%, respectively).
The presence of serum concentrations of golimumab can interfere with the detection of antibodies to SIMPONI leading to inconclusive results. In UC trials, 34 (3%), 341 (28%) and 823 (69%) of SIMPONI-treated subjects were positive, negative and inconclusive for antibodies to SIMPONI, respectively. Treatment with concomitant immunomodulators (AZA, 6-MP and MTX) resulted in a lower proportion of patients with antibodies to SIMPONI than patients receiving SIMPONI without immunomodulators (2% versus 4%, respectively).
Of the patients with a positive antibody response to SIMPONI in the Phase 2 and 3 trials, most were determined to have neutralizing antibodies to golimumab as measured by a cell-based functional assay.
The small number of patients positive for antibodies to SIMPONI limits the ability to draw definitive conclusions regarding the relationship between antibodies to golimumab and clinical efficacy or safety measures.
The data above reflect the percentage of patients whose test results were considered positive for antibodies to SIMPONI in an ELISA assay, and are highly dependent on the sensitivity and specificity of the assay. Additionally, the observed incidence of antibody positivity in an assay may be influenced by several factors including sample handling, timing of sample collection, concomitant medications, and underlying disease. For these reasons, comparison of the incidence of antibodies to SIMPONI with the incidence of antibodies to other products may be misleading.
Other Adverse Reactions
Table 1 summarizes the adverse drug reactions that occurred at a rate of at least 1% in the SIMPONI ± DMARD group and with a higher incidence than in the placebo ± DMARD group during the controlled period of the 5 pooled Phase 3 trials through Week 16 in patients with RA, PsA, and AS.
Table 1: Adverse Drug Reactions Reported by ≥
1% of SIMPONI-Treated Patients and with a Higher Incidence than Placebo-Treated
Patients in the Phase 3 Trials of RA, PsA, and AS through Week 16a
|SIMPONI ± DMARDs||Placebo ± DMARDs|
|Infections and Infestations|
|Upper respiratory tract infection (nasopharyngitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, and rhinitis)||16%||13%|
|Viral infections (such as influenza and herpes)||5%||3%|
|Superficial fungal infections||2%||1%|
|General disorders and administration site conditions|
|Injection site reaction (injection site erythema, urticaria, induration, pain, bruising, pruritus, irritation, paresthesia)||6%||2%|
|Alanine aminotransferase increased||4%||3%|
|Aspartate aminotransferase increased||3%||2%|
|Nervous system disorders|
|aPatients may have taken concomitant MTX, sulfasalazine, hydroxychloroquine, low dose corticosteroids ( ≤ 10 mg of prednisone/day or equivalent), and/or NSAIDs during the trials).|
Less common clinical trial adverse drug reactions
Adverse drug reactions that occurred < 1% in SIMPONI-treated patients during the SIMPONI clinical trials that do not appear in the WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS section included the following events listed by system organ class:
Neoplasms benign, malignant and unspecified: Leukemia
Vascular disorders: Vasculitis (systemic)
Other clinical trial adverse drug reactions in ulcerative colitis clinical trials
In the Phase 2/3 trials in UC evaluating 1233 SIMPONI-treated patients, no new adverse drug reactions were identified and the frequency of adverse drug reactions was similar to the safety profile observed in patients with RA, PsA and AS.
The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of SIMPONI. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to SIMPONI exposure.
Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders: Interstitial lung disease
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: Skin exfoliation, rash
Read the Simponi Injection (golimumab injection) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects
For the treatment of RA, SIMPONI should be used with methotrexate (MTX) [see Clinical Studies]. Since the presence or absence of concomitant MTX did not appear to influence the efficacy or safety of SIMPONI in the treatment of PsA or AS, SIMPONI can be used with or without MTX in the treatment of PsA and AS [see Clinical Studies and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Biological Products For RA, PsA, And/Or AS
An increased risk of serious infections has been seen in clinical RA trials of other TNF-blockers used in combination with anakinra or abatacept, with no added benefit; therefore, use of SIMPONI with abatacept or anakinra is not recommended [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. A higher rate of serious infections has also been observed in RA patients treated with rituximab who received subsequent treatment with a TNF-blocker. The concomitant use of SIMPONI with biologics approved to treat RA, PsA, or AS is not recommended because of the possibility of an increased risk of infection.
Live Vaccines/Therapeutic Infectious Agents
Therapeutic infectious agents should not be given concurrently with SIMPONI [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Infants born to women treated with SIMPONI during their pregnancy may be at increased risk of infection for up to 6 months. Administration of live vaccines to infants exposed to SIMPONI in utero is not recommended for 6 months following the mother's last SIMPONI injection during pregnancy [see Use In Specific Populations].
Cytochrome P450 Substrates
The formation of CYP450 enzymes may be suppressed by increased levels of cytokines (e.g., TNFα) during chronic inflammation. Therefore, it is expected that for a molecule that antagonizes cytokine activity, such as golimumab, the formation of CYP450 enzymes could be normalized. Upon initiation or discontinuation of SIMPONI in patients being treated with CYP450 substrates with a narrow therapeutic index, monitoring of the effect (e.g., warfarin) or drug concentration (e.g., cyclosporine or theophylline) is recommended and the individual dose of the drug product may be adjusted as needed.
Read the Simponi Injection Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions
Last reviewed on RxList: 1/9/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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