It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Certolizumab 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.
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.
While you are being treated with certolizumab, and after you stop treatment with it, do not have any immunizations (vaccines) without your doctor's approval. Certolizumab may lower your body's resistance and the vaccine may not work as well or you might get the infection the vaccine is meant to prevent. In addition, you should not be around other persons living in your household who receive live virus vaccines because there is a chance they could pass the virus on to you. Some examples of live vaccines include measles, mumps, influenza (nasal flu vaccine), poliovirus (oral form), rotavirus, and rubella. Do not get close to them and do not stay in the same room with them for very long. If you have questions about this, talk to your doctor.
Check with your doctor right away if you have symptoms of liver problems, such as yellow skin or eyes, dark brown-colored urine, right-sided 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, lymphoma, leukemia, skin cancer). 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, swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs, tightness in the chest, trouble breathing, or weight gain. These may be symptoms of a heart condition called congestive heart failure.
Certolizumab 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 use the medicine.
Some people using this medicine developed lupus-like symptoms. Make sure your doctor knows if you start having chest pain, joint pain, or a rash on your cheeks or arms that is sensitive to the sun.
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. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.