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Cimzia vs Humira

Drug facts and comparison

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Medically reviewed by  Jamie Winn, PharmD

Uses

  • Moderately to severely active Crohn’s disease
  • Moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis
  • Moderately to severely active plaque psoriasis
  • Active psoriatic arthritis
  • Active non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis with inflammation
  • Active ankylosing spondylitis
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  • Moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis in adults
  • Moderate to severe active polyarticular (affecting multiple joints) juvenile idiopathic arthritis in children aged two years and older
  • Moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis in adults
  • Active psoriatic arthritis in adults
  • Active ankylosing spondylitis in adults
  • Moderate to severe active ulcerative colitis in adults
  • Moderate to severely active Crohn’s Disease in adults and children aged six years and older
  • Moderate to severe hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) in adults and children aged 12 years and older
  • Uveitis in adults and children aged two years and older
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Summary

Brand name: Cimzia
Brand name: Humira
Manufacturer: UCB
Manufacturer: Abbvie Inc.
Active ingredient: certolizumab pegol
Active ingredient: adalimumab
Indication: Moderately to severely active Chron’s disease Moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis Moderately to severely active plaque psoriasis Active psoriatic arthritis Active non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis with inflammation Active ankylosing spondylitis
Indication: Moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis in adults Moderate to severe active polyarticular (affecting multiple joints) juvenile idiopathic arthritis in children aged two years and older Moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis in adults Active psoriatic arthritis in adults Active ankylosing spondylitis in adults Moderate to severe active ulcerative colitis in adults Moderate to severely active Crohn’s Disease in adults and children aged six years and older Moderate to severe hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) in adults and children aged 12 years and older Uveitis in adults and children aged two years and older
Frequency of injection: Week 0, 2, 4, then 4 weekly thereafter
Frequency of injection: Once every 2 weeks
Duration of action: Week 0, 2, 4, then 4 weekly thereafter
Duration of action: Once every 2 weeks
Injection method: Subcutaneous injection
Injection method: Subcutaneous injection

Side Effects

Most common

  • Increase in upper respiratory infections, including colds and the flu
  • Increase in bladder and urinary tract infections
  • Skin rash

More serious

  • Increased risk of certain cancers, including lymphoma and skin cancers
  • New or worsening heart failure
  • New or worsening damage to your nerves that can cause multiple sclerosis or Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Severe allergic reactions to the medication that can cause a rapid heartbeat, chest pain, sweating, skin rashes, and hives, as well as swelling of the face, mouth, and throat that can make it difficult to breathe
  • A weakening of your immune system that can make you more vulnerable to infections, including serious infections, like tuberculosis
  • An immune system reaction that can cause a lupus-like syndrome, with symptoms including shortness of breath, joint pain, and skin rashes
  • Reactivation of a hepatitis B infection if you have previously had hepatitis B
  • Low white blood cell counts that can weaken your immune system
  • Low red blood cell counts that can cause anemia
  • Low blood platelet counts that can stop your blood clotting and leave you vulnerable to bleeding problems

Most common

  • Injection site reactions
  • Headaches
  • Skin rashes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Musculoskeletal pain (pain in bones, joints, and nerves)
  • Upper respiratory infections, including sinus infections

More serious

  • Serious allergic reactions to the medication
  • Serious infections, including tuberculosis and sepsis
  • Activation of a hepatitis B infection in people who carry the hepatitis B virus
  • Heart failure or worsening heart failure
  • Liver problems and liver failure

Drug Interactions

Severe Interactions
  • Immunomodulators – abatacept
  • Corticosteroids – betamethasone, cortisone, dexamethasone
  • Antisphychotics – clozapine
  • Immunosuppressants – fingolimod, ozanimod, siponimod
  • DMARDs – leflunomide, teriflunomide
Serious interactions
  • Statins – atorvastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin
  • Anticonvulsants – carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin
  • Benzodiazepines – clonazepam, diazepam, triazolam
  • Calcium channel blockers – amlodipine, felodipine, nifedipine
  • Opioids – hydrocodone, oxycodone
Moderate interactions
  • Zinc preparations – zinc acetate, zinc chloride, zinc gluconate, zinc sulfate
Severe interactions
  • Immunomodulators – abatacept
  • Corticosteroids – betamethasone, cortisone, dexamethasone
  • Antisphychotics – clozapine
  • Immunosuppressants – fingolimod, ozanimod, siponimod
  • DMARDs – leflunomide, teriflunomide
Serious interactions
  • Statins – atorvastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin
  • Anticonvulsants – carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin
  • Benzodiazepines – clonazepam, diazepam, triazolam
  • Calcium channel blockers – amlodipine, felodipine, nifedipine
  • Opioids – hydrocodone, oxycodone
Moderate interactions
  • Zinc preparations – zinc acetate, zinc chloride, zinc gluconate, zinc sulfate

Warnings

You should not use Cimzia if you:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient certolizumab pegol
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Cimzia
  • Are under 18 years of age

You should talk to your doctor before using Cimzia if you:

  • Are taking any of the medications that could interact with Cimzia
  • Have or have ever had any type of cancer
  • Have or have ever had congestive heart failure
  • Have or have ever had any kind of blood disorder
  • Have or have ever had any condition that affects your nervous system, like multiple sclerosis or Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • Currently have an active infection, or think you have an infection
  • Often get infections or have infections that keep coming back
  • Have or have ever had hepatitis B
  • Have recently had a vaccine or are due to have a vaccine
  • Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed
  • Are allergic to rubber or latex (the plastic needle shield inside the removable cap of the prefilled syringe contains a natural rubber)

You should not use Humira if you:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient adalimumab
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients found in Humira
  • Have active tuberculosis or another severe infection
  • Have moderate or severe heart failure
  • Are taking a medication with the active ingredients anakinra or abatacept
  • Are pregnant, but you may be able to breastfeed while taking it

You should talk to your doctor before using Humira if you:

  • Are over 65, as Humira can make it more likely you will get infections
  • Have an infection, or a condition that makes it easier for you to get infections
  • Have infections that keep coming back
  • Have ever had tuberculosis, or if you’ve been in close contact with someone with tuberculosis
  • Have or have had cancer
  • Have traveled to regions where fungal infections are common
  • Have had mild heart failure, or another serious heart condition
  • Have a demyelinating disease, like multiple sclerosis
  • Have the hepatitis B virus (HBV)
  • Are about to have surgery or a dental procedure
  • Are about to have a vaccination

Dosage

400 mg initially, and at weeks 2 and 4, then 200 mg to 400 mg every 2 to 4 weeks depending on the condition being treated.

10 mg, 20 mg, or 40 mg every other week.

Cost

Cimzia subcutaneous kit 200 mg is around will cost around $5,300 for 1 kit.

Humira subcutaneous kit (40 mg/0.8 mL) will cost around $6,700 for 2 kits.

 

FAQs

Cimzia and Humira are both biologic drugs classed as tumor necrosis factor blockers or anti-TNFs (By inhibiting or stopping, TNF, these medications can reduce inflammation. That’s why they’re often called TNF inhibitors). Medications like Cimzia and Humira can help treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases cannot be permanently cured and they will likely affect you for life. Cimzia and Humira aim to improve disease activity i.e. make flare-ups of symptoms happen less often and can make flare-ups less severe when they do happen. If you’re considering using one of these drugs, discussing this information with your doctor can help you decide if one of these treatments may be right for you.

What is Cimzia?

Cimzia is brand name prescription medicine, manufactured by UCB and approved by the FDA, containing the active ingredient certolizumab pegol. It is used to treat a range of inflammatory autoimmune diseases in adults, including:

  • Moderately to severely active Crohn’s disease
  • Moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis
  • Moderately to severely active plaque psoriasis
  • Active psoriatic arthritis
  • Active non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis with inflammation
  • Active ankylosing spondylitis

What is Humira used for?

Humira is a brand-name drug containing the active ingredient adalimumab. It is approved by the FDA to treat the following inflammatory autoimmune diseases:

  • Moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis in adults
  • Moderate to severe active polyarticular (affecting multiple joints) juvenile idiopathic arthritis in children aged two years and older
  • Moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis in adults
  • Active psoriatic arthritis in adults
  • Active ankylosing spondylitis in adults
  • Moderate to severe active ulcerative colitis in adults

Humira is also approved to treat similar non-autoimmune inflammatory diseases:

  • Moderate to severely active Crohn’s Disease in adults and children aged six years and older
  • Moderate to severe hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) in adults and children aged 12 years and older
  • Uveitis in adults and children aged two years and older

The main differences are that Cimzia is indicated for active non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis with inflammation, Humira is not. Humira is indicated to treat non-autoimmune inflammatory diseases, whereas Cimzia is not. Cimzia isn’t currently approved for use in children but some indications of Humira are for use in children.

How do you take Cimzia and Humira?

You take Cimzia and Humira by injecting it under your skin subcutaneously, either in a pre-filled syringe yourself or by injections administered by your healthcare provider. The dose of Cimzia and Humira and how many injections you need will be decided upon by your prescribing doctor based on your condition and medical history.

Cimzia comes in two forms:

  • Single-dose prefilled syringe
  • Single-dose vial

Humira comes in three forms:

  • Single-dose injection pen
  • Single-dose prefilled syringe
  • Single-dose vial

How do Cimzia and Humira work?

Both drugs work as monoclonal antibodies and, more specifically as TNF blockers, to treat inflammation. TNF alpha (tumor necrosis factor-alpha) is one of a number of different antibodies produced by white blood cells and other parts of the immune system.

Once Cimzia or Humira is injected into your body, its active ingredient helps reduce inflammation. Your immune system releases a protein in your body to trigger inflammation called TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor-alpha). The active ingredient in Cimzia or Humira attaches to TNF-alpha and stops it from working. This limits the amount of inflammation your immune system can cause.

By reducing inflammation, Cimzia and Humira can provide relief from the symptoms of inflammatory diseases. They can also limit the damage caused by inflammatory diseases and can stop flare-ups from happening.

Does Cimzia work better than Humira?

No. The Lancet published a head-to-head clinical trial comparing Cimzia (certolizumab pegol) plus methotrexate to Humira (adalimumab) plus methotrexate in adult patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.

The primary endpoint of the study was measured by The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 20% improvement criteria (ACR20). The study did not show any statistically significant difference in efficacy between the two drugs.

69.2% of patients using Cimzia achieved ACR20 at 3 months vs 71.4% of patients using Humira achieved ACR20 at 3 months.

What are the side effects of Cimzia and Humira?

As Cimzia and Humira belong to the same drug class their side effects are similar.

Common side effects include:

  • Injection site reactions
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Respiratory infections
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sinus infection
  • Headache
  • Joint pain

Serious side effects include:

  • Suppression of the immune system
  • Increased risk of cancer, particularly lymphoma and skin cancer
  • New or worsening heart failure
  • New or worsening psoriasis
  • Allergic reactions
  • Serious infections
  • Reactivation of a hepatitis B infection if you have previously had hepatitis B

Doctors often prescribe methotrexate or corticosteroids with Cimzia and Humira increasing your risk for developing a serious infection. This is because all these drugs are immunosuppressants and reduce the ability of your body to fight infections.

What drugs interact with Cimzia and Humira?

Cimzia and Humira have drug interactions with some of the following drugs

  • Live vaccines
  • Anakinra (Kineret)
  • Abatacept (Orencia)
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Any other medications taken to treat your autoimmune disease, including Remicade (infliximab), Enbrel (etanercept), or Simponi (golimumab)

Other medical conditions may affect your treatment with Cimzia or Humira so you should always seek medical advice from the healthcare professional prescribing your drugs. The drug information provided is intended for reference only and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice.

Cimzia warning and precautions

Cimzia is not suitable for everyone. Do not take Cimzia if you:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient certolizumab pegol
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Cimzia
  • Are under 18 years of age

Talk to your doctor before taking Cimzia if you:

  • Have or have ever had congestive heart failure
  • Have or have ever had any kind of blood disorder
  • Have or have ever had any condition that affects your nervous system, like multiple sclerosis or Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • Often get infections, or have infections that keep coming back
  • Have or have ever had hepatitis B
  • Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed

Humira warnings & precautions

Don’t take Humira if you:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient adalimumab
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients found in Humira (listed in the leaflet which comes with the medication)
  • Have active tuberculosis or another severe infection
  • Have moderate or severe heart failure
  • Are taking a medication with the active ingredients anakinra or abatacept

Humira is not recommended during pregnancy, but you may be able to breastfeed while taking it. Talk to your physician for advice.

Talk to your physician before taking Humira if you:

  • Travel to regions where fungal infections are common
  • Have had mild heart failure, or another serious heart condition
  • Have a demyelinating disease, like multiple sclerosis
  • Have the hepatitis B virus (HBV)

Can you consume alcohol while using Humira?

There is no solid scientific evidence against this, but healthcare professionals strongly advise not to consume alcohol when using Humira due to the risk of liver damage. To learn more about how Humira works and the dangers of combining it read our blog Humira and alcohol: can they be used together?

Does Cimzia cause weight gain or weight loss?

No, Cimzia doesn’t affect your weight. But if you get an infection while you’re taking Cimzia, you may lose weight. Discuss any changes in weight with your healthcare professional.

Is Cimzia available in a biosimilar?

Cimzia is not available in a biosimilar form. For more information on biosimilars read our blog What is a biosimilar drug? Biosimilar vs Generic.

The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.
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