A second dose of Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) was injected Wednesday evening. Since Enbrel was no longer working well, my rheumatologist recommended trying a new medication. Cimzia, which was recently approved by the FDA, is designed to stay in the body longer thereby making it more effective. The nurse stated that about 15-20 patients in their office switched to Cimzia after Enbrel and Humira stopped working for them.
Below is a photo showing all the paraphernalia associated with self-administration of the antibody treatment. I do “enjoy” the ergonomically designed syringes!
I noticed less fatigue last month after the first injection although joint pain and inflammation continued. The first clear evidence of finger joint bending was noticable. My knee was bothering me after swimming a little (so much for swimming as a good exercise for RA). The fatigue returned over the past few days. Since swine flu made a visit to our house last week (my son had it), I debated whether I should wait to take the second dose. Cimzia lowers the immune system increasing vulnerability to infections. We were still in the incubation period for the flu. But I realized that the toll of RA on my body trumped anything else and I gave myself the second injection. The day after the 2nd injection brought an obvious increase in energy, less “brain fog”, and less joint stiffness and pain.
My rheumy said to give it a good 3-4 months before making any long-term judgements about the efficacy of Cimzia. Since the pain was still present and finger bending noticeable, my rheumy suggested that I try Mobic (meloxicam) which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID). I can’t tolerate ibuprofen so we’ll see how this goes. Thus, another weapon is added to the chemical arsenal designed to fight RA in my body.