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Updated March 2023
Certolizumab belongs to a class of medications called biological disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (biological DMARDs or bDMARDs). Specifically, it is a TNF inhibitor.
bDMARDs have now been given to over a million people worldwide since their first use in the late 1990s.
These medications block substances, produced by arthritic tissues, called cytokines. These cytokines are found in excessive amounts in the blood and joints of people with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
They cause inflammation, which results in symptoms of pain, joint swelling and stiffness, and can lead to joint damage.
By blocking the cytokine called Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF), certolizumab lessens inflammation, pain symptoms and helps stop further joint damage.
Certolizumab may be used with other arthritis medicines including:
Certolizumab cannot be used with other bDMARDs.
There are separate information sheets for the medications mentioned above.
You might experience side effects with your treatment. Contact your rheumatologist if you have any concerns about possible side effects. Many side effects disappear when certolizumab treatment is stopped.
Most common possible side effects
Less common or rare possible side effects
Precautions with other diseases
Worsening may occur of the following conditions:
Use with other medicines
More information is available here Vaccinations in Rheumatology and COVID-19 vaccination.
Use with alcohol
Use in pregnancy and when breastfeeding