It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Certolizumab pegol can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:
- If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you get a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
- Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual bleeding or bruising; black, tarry stools; blood in the urine or stools; or pinpoint red spots on your skin.
- Be careful when using a regular toothbrush, dental floss, or toothpick. Your medical doctor, dentist, or nurse may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check with your medical doctor before having any dental work done.
- Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have just washed your hands and have not touched anything else in the meantime.
- Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects such as a safety razor or fingernail or toenail cutters.
- Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur.
Your risk of getting an infection increases when you travel to places where certain organisms (such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, or parasites) are more common. Tell your doctor where you live and if you have any history of travel if you start having any signs of infection.
You will need to have a skin test for tuberculosis before you start using this medicine. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your home has ever had a positive reaction to a tuberculosis skin test.
Do not have any live vaccines (immunizations) while you are being treated with certolizumab pegol. Check with your doctor before having any vaccines.
Check with your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of liver problems including skin and eyes turning yellow, dark brown-colored urine, right-sided abdominal or stomach pain, fever, or severe tiredness.
This medicine may cause other unwanted effects that may not occur until months or years after this medicine is used. A small number of people (including children and teenagers) who have used this type of medicine have developed certain types of cancer (eg, leukemia). Some patients developed a rare type of cancer called lymphoma. Talk with your doctor if you have unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness; swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarms, or groin; or unexplained weight loss. Also, check with your doctor right away if your skin has red, scaly patches, or raised bumps that are filled with pus.
Check with your doctor right away if you have more than one of these symptoms: chest pain; decreased urine output; dilated neck veins; extreme fatigue; irregular breathing; irregular heartbeat; shortness of breath; swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs; tightness in the chest; trouble with breathing; weight gain; or wheezing. These may be signs of a heart condition called congestive heart failure (CHF).
Certolizumab pegol may cause serious allergic reactions. Check with your doctor right away if you have a rash; itching; dizziness, fainting, or lightheadedness; swelling of the face, throat, legs, or feet; or troubled breathing after you receive the medicine.
Some people who have used this medicine developed lupus-like symptoms during treatment and got better after this medicine was stopped. Make sure your doctor knows if you start having chest pains, shortness of breath, joint pain, or a rash on your cheeks or arms that is sensitive to the sun.
Do not change or stop using this medicine without checking with your doctor first. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping it completely.
Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain medical tests.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. Your doctor will discuss with you any changes in your medicine.